Internationally acclaimed frontman Felix Riebl releases Black Room White Walls, the brilliant addition to a remarkably diverse career that has taken him around the world; across 9 albums as the lead singer of The Cat Empire, to the more reflective solo endeavors of the Spinifex Gum project featuring the all-female Marilya Choir.
Black Room White Walls highlights Felix's ability to harness elements from contrasting styles of music, whether that be from the classical realm, channeling Russian composer Rachmaninoff, to the stark power of bands like New Order.
It is this in, addition to Felix's openness to diverse sounds and culture, which has enabled to him to create a body of work that although 'not overt in meaning' evokes feelings of nostalgia, a world that is filled with ambiguity and bursting with endless opportunities to be transported emotionally no matter where you are. Songs where "You can be alone in a room and feel like you have company, surrounded by ghosts or memories. And you can be on a stage in a room full of people and be in quite a private space," writes Felix.
The five-track EP Black Room White Walls led with single 'Black Walls' a song written with the intention of 'hitting people with a blast of something that was equal parts angst and positivity' set the tone for a release which is unlike anything Felix has released, in a career that has always been about deftly side-stepping definitions.
Following on from 'Black Room', 'White Walls' is another perfectly prescient pop-rock gem, inviting the audience to go out dancing on a wire despite the constraints around them, while 'Follow' finds the narrator navigating a natural world under threat.
Piano-led tunes 'Gloria' and 'Dreamers' which close the EP highlight more of Felix's classical influences. "You can hear the realm of old-world piano music in those two songs with the grand minor chords, a feeling that's almost operatic."
Recorded between The Shed in Melbourne and in New York with John Castle (Angie McMahon, Jack River, Cubsport) and Andy Balwin (Bjork, St Lucia, HAERTS), Felix explains 'these songs weren't written in response to things happening around us, but it does feel like the right time to release them'. The EP acts as an accidental mirror to a world on fire, ears filled with protest screams, and uneasy dreams of pandemic and civil unrest.
Only 5 tracks in length Black Room White Walls is an unexpected yet welcome delight and leaves the listener hungry for his promised album in 2021.