Major Pursuit | photo by Ashley Gellman
Major Pursuit strikes a balance in sound and emotion on new With Feeling LP
The last thing many musicians would want to be is predictable. But for Philadelphia’s Major Pursuit, that’s never really been an issue. Since the project began several years back as Olivia Bellito’s solo endeavor it’s evolved steadily and naturally, all the while avoiding falling into a routine.
On previous recordings, Major Pursuit’s sound was sparse, but as they played more shows, a full band formed and their soundgrew into the kind that can fill a room (or basement) with ease. With Feeling, the project’s second full-length, is the first to translate that sound onto record. The album is now out in full, just a few days after the band shared its opening track “When It’s Convenient for You.” We’ve also previously heard lead single “Rough,” which comes in the middle of the record as one of its most dynamic moments.
Throughout With Feeling, songwriter/vocalist Bellito strikes a balance between her familiar solo, acoustic sound and full band, live-show-style rockers. “Rough” falls solidly in the latter category, but other tracks go from sparse to sweeping at any turn — like “Don’t,” where Bellito’s repeated pleading of “Please don’t call me” starts out as a whisper and builds to a shout.
The album’s softer, more delicate moments allow Bellito the chance to dive deep into to the album’s complicated emotional core and let her wide-ranging vocals come through in full force. On the acoustic guitar-driven tearjerker “Lying Through Your Teeth,” she moves through ups and downs, singing with startling self-awareness, “I know I should take your stuff and burn it / but there it sits in the corner of my room / I love you, I don’t like you.”
This underlying sense of frustration and confusion appears throughout; as Bellito sings on “Let Me In,” “I just need a reason not to stay / let me go / I don’t know myself.” But toward the end of the record, on “Life, After,” Bellito reaches the breakthrough moment of clarity that’s been hinted at and pushed toward on the previous tracks. Any prior restraint is gone as the band helps the song unfurl into a blunt and freeing declaration of “Don’t call me ever again / I’m not saying please, you’ll have to get over it.”
Stream With Feeling below via Bandcamp; physical copies are also available and the record is also on Spotify. (And check out that stunning album artwork by The Key’s own Ashley Gellman.) Major Pursuit celebrates their record release with a show at JJ’s Diner next Saturday, June 2 with Sinceres and highnoon. Find more information here.