When in the midst of a mind storm between what’s black and white, sometimes the answer is neither, and there is just gray. Aside from the angst-driven romantics of their previous album, Logic Will Break Your Heart, The Stills are back to trade all-or-nothing-love-or-death pessimism for heartfelt existentialism on Without Feathers, an album outside looking in that tackles issues from Logic with a reluctant sense of acceptance. After the four-track recorder that started it all in 2002, the band from Montreal signed to Vice Records and became known for their bill alongside The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Streets, The Rapture and The Music, with comparisons to Interpol – minus the suits.
Three years after their debut, The Stills are set to release a follow-up that takes an observant step back on a lighter note and instead, is able to slightly embrace fate no matter how doomed. “She’s Walking Out” depicts the act taking place in front of a helpless love lost, and is paired next to the accusing, hollow clanging clog of “Oh Shoplifter”. “Halo the Harpoons” is endearing in its reverb, while “Destroyer” humorously churns upbeat vibes against dark lyricism with “And the arrows are pointed/ And the archer’s delighted/ The thrill, the smell…So don’t make a goddamned sound/Cause I’m coming/To your town”. The album lends itself to the vulnerability incomprehensible to the unabated strength of Logic and the factual disappointments that are inevitable. More hopeful than the latter, Without Feathers is redeeming as it charges through uncharted territory, which knowingly is life.