"Start over". That simple idea was the overriding sentiment that led to The Felix Culpa's long awaited sophomore full length, Sever Your Roots. As an artist, starting over means rethinking who you are and where you've come from, and today's working class rock bands might not always have the luxury of that sort of time. But, few musicians can claim to be as dedicated to their art as the four members of The Felix Culpa. For three years they shied away from any of the hype generated by their previous two releases (2005's Commitment, and 2006's Thought Control EP) to hole up, write, record and ultimately perfect Sever Your Roots. Not wanting it to simply be lost in the clutter of the last decade's indie rock releases, everything about SYR is utterly ambitious - from recording sections of songs live with only a handheld tape recorder - to changing rooms and even buildings multiple times in order to achieve the desired effect - to completely doing without modern production caveats such as auto-tuning and beat replacement - to the actual songs themselves which bleed and weave together to form a seamless thought process. Sever Your Roots exists as an entirely whole experience that invites you to be a participant, rather than a mere listener.
Helmed by long-time Culpa producer Jeffro Lackshiede, Sever Your Roots finds the Culpa sidestepping the expected sonic footholds of the modern indie rock world and instead confidently choosing to marry ambitious art rock with post-hardcore, drawing upon influences ranging from Brand New and Radiohead to Sunny Day Real Estate and Shiner, while relying on a strong progressive backbone that allows them to create intricate soundscapes that are epic in proportion. Sever Your Roots is a rare example of creative ambition met in equal measure by creative execution. ItÍs the sound of so much angst, anger, frustration yet ultimately love, brought to life by the four minds that are The Felix Culpa. It is the sound of a group of artists challenging you to do what they have done: rethink everything and start over. ñWhat are you waiting for?
This reissue includes the bonus EP Bury The Axe which features three previously unrecorded and unreleased songs that came out of the same writing sessions as the majority of the material on Sever Your Roots. Although these songs didn't make it on to the full length, they managed to hang around as band favorites and were even performed live on occasion. After announcing the reissue of Sever Your Roots, the Culpa went back into the studio with engineer Daniel Good to lay those songs to tape as an additional offering to those who have been reveling in the full length since it's self-release. Although the songs on Bury The Axe are intended to serve as a companion piece they stand just as tall on their own, ultimately allowing one more window to be opened in on the thought process behind Sever Your Roots.