The Fervor, "Bleeder"
Natalie Felker looks the listener straight in the eye, via her piano and supple voice, and talks you into accepting the dagger … because you know full well that it’s two-sided, and that she’ll accept the other blade. They’ll never take us alive, she says. But, as husband Ben’s guitars start up a sharp squall, you hear why it’s worth the cost: With every new beginning comes the end/We’re born again. And one listen to the bright voices coming in all around to surround you in a reassuring embrace and you’re ready to pick up the dare, the challenge, in the song’s title — “Let’s Fight!”
Louisville’s The Fervor has formed around this pair — her voice and keys, his guitar and harmony. Right from the start, Natalie was capable of facing up to piano-based alternative divas such as Fiona Apple — but with the skill and resolve to wrest the inspiration from the affectation. Natalie could be the flirt who always said upfront something more honest than your carefully crafted thoughts. Or she could drop her voice low and quiet, be your confidant and your gospel-chord-pounding witness to raw self-confrontation.
Their studio drummer gave way to the live-onstage presence of Mat Herron, and the group pulled in a bassist and brought out their songs in clubs. Now, with their onetime studio drummer handling the engineering, comes Bleeder, The Fervor’s full-length debut. The 10 tracks boast strong new songs from a band that keeps writing and musically exploring to this day. The accumulating thunderhead of “Moment of Truth” and the sly, snapping shifts in “The Void” move forward toward bringing light to mysteries of personality and intimacy — but without any pretense of a definitive answer, and far removed from any calming platitudes.
A band that writes these sorts of songs together surely must benefit from two bandmates living together, and Natalie agrees: “Playing and creating together is more accessible. You aren’t waiting for a scheduled rehearsal to work it out. You’re in your PJs, having coffee, with only 20 minutes to spare ….” She continues, “As the band has progressed, the collaborative process has begun earlier in the life of a song than it did when we first started playing together.”
Among The Fervor’s songs can be found an honesty that’s gut-punching in impact, but life-affirming in its lasting spark and hopeful mysteries.