Doctor Mother Father share sophomore LP

Category: music 156

Doctor Mother Father’s latest album Feelin’ Fine offers an unfiltered view of life as an artist above a highly energetic power-pop soundtrack.  

Matt Carter

It’s almost impossible to listen to any band’s sophomore album and not want to compare it to their debut. But if the first album is the introduction, what is the role of the second? Is it a refinement of the concept first presented or a full 180 into something completely different? Can it be both? If we’re talking about Feelin’ Fine (Monopolized Records), the latest album from Saint John’s Doctor Mother Father the answer is yes, to both. 

The origins of Doctor Mother Father go back to somewhere around 2019 when Corey Bonnevie’s primary musical outlet was the band Little You, Little Me. At the time, LYLM were among the reigning champions of New Brunswick indie rock and Bonnevie had a number of songs that needed a home outside of his mainstay. Doctor Mother Father was born. Those are the highly abbreviated Cole’s Notes anyway. 

Doctor Mother Father’s debut album Catholic arrived in 2020. What was supposed to be a collaborative record with many friends contributing to Bonnevie’s songs ended up being a solo project in the true sense of the word after a harddrive failure resulted in the loss of the entire in-production project. As the album’s credits state, “All songs, sounds, and production by Corey Bonnevie.” It wasn’t supposed to be that way, but that’s how it turned out. 

Following an invitation to perform his solo material at the 2021 Best of Saint John Music Awards which took place June 4 at the Imperial Theatre, Bonnevie recruited two friends – Colin Ferris (drums) and Kortni Nicols (bass) – to be his band for the show. Seven months later the trio entered the studio to begin recording the songs that make up their new album. 

In some ways, the songs on Feelin’ Fine are an extension of what Bonnevie began exploring on Catholic; cathartic meditations on life as an artist. If I’m being totally honest, back when I first heard the songs on his debut I got the impression Bonnevie was preparing to pack it all in. To quit music entirely. There are some bleak moments on that record as there are here on Feelin’ Fine. But I have come to learn that what I originally thought of as being a poorly veiled goodbye was simply an unfiltered introduction to Bonnevie and the subjects he draws inspiration from: struggles with artistic identity; the need to create vs. the will to create; the feeling of being rudderless and in search of direction; the mixed attitudes of peers; and coming to terms with it all. 

In preparing my thoughts for this article, I pulled a line from each song in the order they are sequenced on the album. Looking at them on paper now, they offer a pretty solid interpretation of the artistic experience regardless of your chosen discipline. 

The will to live is the hardest thing. 
You were fine before this time. 
This isn’t all that I do. 
Happiness, where are you now? 
Spare time doesn’t pay the bills. 
Repeating all the things, maybe this time it will take. 
Feelin’ fine about going nowhere. 
You can’t come in here and act like I like you. 
I remember when I nearly lost my mind. 
I could blame the time for things I can’t control. 
Things change, take it as it comes. 

Contrast in art is achieved when opposite elements are arranged together. Some even refer to contrast as being the golden rule of art. While self doubt and fleeting optimism weigh heavily on Feelin’ Fine, the album’s greatest strength comes from its juxtaposition of melancholic lyrics and full-on, ranging rock and roll. Thick chords and blazing guitar solos are hallmarks of Bonnevie’s music. Both of these characteristics, when paired with the rhythm section of Ferris and Nicols, are magnified tenfold making Feelin’ Fine a rock riff lover’s dream come true in addition to being a tell-all memoir seemingly dedicated to everyone who has ever made art a priority in their lives.

Upcoming Performances:

February 17 | Wasted Day | Saint John, NB | 8:30 p.m. | View Event
February 18 | The Cap | Fredericton, NB | 8:30 p.m. | View Event


Photos by Naomi Peters

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