Montreal boys the Stills used Vice records as a catalyst to their fame to break out to the scenesters far and wide (well, in Canada at least) with their debut Logic Will Break Your Heart. It had a sweet sound that wasn't very out of the ordinary, but when the sometimes dark and heartbreaking lyrics drenched in honesty hit you, it was addictive. They sang about love, drugs and sex, typical rock star themes, but somehow you could relate to it. You could lie back and listen to that record and let the imagery flood your mind, and every song could be a soundtrack to one night or another.
So when the Stills finally got around to putting out their second album, there were high expectations to deliver an album as real and personal as the first. Alas, Without Feathers came out a little under par after the band played musical chairs and let the hype of Logic go to their heads. Moving Dave Hamelin from drums to vocalist/guitarist and losing a lot of their charm, the Stills were back with their second album. It opens with a build up of guitar that slowly adds keyboard and other things into the mix, to a very pop melody that is deadened by Dave's flat vocals. The lyrics are mostly repetitive and nowhere near as touching as before; as well as the musical aspects being less innovative than Logic. With "Oh Shoplifter" and "It Takes Time" both having upbeat fairly danceable music but with lyrics that get almost annoying, the songs are ruined. Other songs drone on a little too long, with either poor song writing or Dave's voice simply being a little too much to handle in such a large dose, overall making the album less than impressive.
The band describes it as their journey through dealing with fame and breakups with girlfriends and the like, all things which typically could make a changed band with a great, matured second album, but The Stills seem to have lost their touch. Their charm of cleverly talking about girls and their virginity, night clubs and death is lost in poor singing and song writing, with boring music underneath it all, even on tracks that attempt to revive their dance rock vibe. As with every record there are a couple exceptions, such as "Helicopters" which may be explained by the fact that original Stills singer Tim is taking care of the lead vocals. "Helicopters" is a long buildup of pulsing guitar and the sorrow filled question "Why do you take this so hard?" that rocks out at the end and the vibe of the whole song is almost like a throwback to the feel of the debut album. Great for dancing without needing any sort of electro beats as well, which makes it superb. It is followed by "In The End" a ballad about an unattainable, lonely girl but finishes up with fun keyboard melodies and with Tim's vocals making it much more listenable, this is another great track to give a little bit of merit to Without Feathers. A few other tracks are fun, but overall the album has taken a slide downhill, which probably doesn't lead to anything else noteworthy coming from the Stills boys anytime in the near future.