Photo by Dennis Connors
"There is weirdness emanating out of Hightstown, New Jersey, and its name is Bruce Hanson. Armed with oddball, semibrilliant compositions containing humor, verve, alacrity, mysteriousness and a deep abiding reverence for such influencing fellow oddballs as Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Alfred Hitchcock, Hanson has independently unleashed the seventh album of Fellaheen, Death & Frolic.
Sometimes the songs play out as a cinematic noir soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist. Hanson plays the world-weary, self-destructive private dick hellbent on solving the vicissitudes of his own psyche. “Oath” goes jazz with an avant-garde saxophone as Hanson whisper-sings his eternal findings like Bob Dylan on Quaaludes.
Somehow, it’s all so European. And just like how Leonard Cohen’s voice is often caressed by soothing female harmonics, Hanson’s is surrounded by atmospheric niceties that keep his gruffness and idiosyncratic individuality in check. Heady stuff: quirky, memorable, loaded with an intangible something not quite definable but catchy enough to make you want to keep returning to it."
— Mike Greenblatt, Aquarian Weekly
“Fellaheen continues to knock out downbeat existential blues fused with surreal jazz held together with whisky soaked gypsy hellfire lyrics to die young to. This is how it’s supposed to be, all ye pretenders to the throne. It’s a rare treat to hear raw, soulful, alt-country sound so original and pleasantly beat-up when produced this way.”
— Tim Merricks, Americana UK
“Songwriter and Fellaheen mastermind Bruce Hanson still has that indefinable ‘it’ seven releases into his career, continually producing music that is as dark and turbulent as it is bright and uplifting. Armed with an uncanny (and unfair) sense of melody, Bruce Hanson weaves a diverse array of elements into a final product that is seamless, fresh, [and] living with impossible vibrancy."
— Jedd Beaudoin, Pop Matters
….With his whisky soaked and world weary vocals, Bruce Hanson — the one-man band extraordinaire behind the Fellaheen moniker — takes his songs on philosophical journeys: life, death, biological imperatives and mutations are the backbone of the album, with powerful wordplay and offbeat imagery being the signature style of songs that are like glittering stabs of light in the darkest sky.
— Jonathan Aird, AmericanaUK
"Beautifully eerie and mellow, infused with a serenely smoky’n’sulky atmosphere, further enriched by an entrancingly jazzy and laid-back sound, this marvelously moody album positively drips with a profound sense of despair, ennui, and unfulfilled yearning that’s truly something to hear...Astonishing stuff.
You just gotta admire the ambition, ingenuity and imagination at work.... [Fellaheen] skillfully blends elements of moody jazz, gritty blues, and melodic alternative rock into a fresh, compelling and harmonic synthesis. The cool, raspy vocals likewise hit the soulful spot. Ditto the quirky, yet incisive lyrics. Arrangements are appropriately brooding and mellow. Best of all, there's a hypnotic smoky atmosphere evident throughout which adds immensely to the overall sonic richness of this excellent and inspired oddball project."
—Joe Wawyrnizak, Jersey Beat Magazine
"Trippy, dark, and rumbling like a clumsily approaching lumbering monster waving a bong, [Fellaheen] will shroud you in storm clouds and blow your mind. Lou Reed would get high to this. Tim Burton would write an animated movie to go with this soundtrack. Johnny Depp would be too spooked to lend his voice to it.... immersing yourself in this darkly swirling (and highly intellectual and literate) music is not a bad way to channel your darker energies. Hypnotic and psychedelic, equal parts Monty Python and Captain Beefheart..."
—Jennifer Layton, Indie-Music.com
"Slimy, brutal and greasy can be great compliments when you're talking about raw sounding music, and Fellaheen is all of that and more. Bruce Hanson has a cigarette-scored vocal reminiscent of Paul Westerberg, and ... succeeds in tribal exorcisms, garage psychedelia, and sparse Americana with equal skill. Great imagery alongside some soul-baring episodes, with just the right sense of humor and the macabre."
—Bill Holmes, Pop Culture Press
"[Fellaheen] just oozes simple and unforgettable melodies and places them in a winning mix of contexts, [giving] the tracks a tossed-off decadence."
—Mike Bennett, Fufkin
"An eclectic mix of pop, rock, folk, and the blues, combin[ing] elements of George Martin production with influences of Tom Waits, Robbie Robertson, and The Beatles...."
—Bill Glovin, Rutgers Magazine
“What does cigarette smoke sound like? It sounds like Fellaheen’s “Always on the Way.” The smoke suffuses the lead vocal and oozes through the song's twin accordion cushion. Listening to this, I imagine a Parisian café, filled with scientists and artists making secret plans. That may sound bizarre, but the musical setting here makes it entirely plausible.”
— Oliver di Place