Felt’s story is pretty much the same as The Smiths: Mononymous frontman & his crew of English provincial bumpkins play jangly indie tunes about adolescent dejection. But Felt was even less democratic than The Smiths, and frontman Lawrence was idealistic to the extreme, reportedly forbidding the drummer from playing any cymbals on their first few records (he eventually chilled out). So where’s Felt’s place on the pedestal of cool; why doesn’t anyone talk about them? If Lawrence’d been a little less eccentric and a little more sellable as a sex symbol, would we be hearing their songs in skate videos and seeing models wearing their shirts? Maybe they just had more modest plans for themselves : “I’d like to do something that makes somebody somewhere care” goes a line from “Hours Of Darkness Have Changed My Mind,” the closing number on Forever Breathes The Lonely Word, considered by most to be their masterpiece. “Rain Of Crystal Spires” gently sets the tone of the album before rolling out more dazzling fare: “Down But Not Yet Out” is despondent jangle pop perfection; other highlights include “Grey Streets,” “A Wave Crashed On Rocks,” the climactic “Gather Up Your Wings And Fly” and the macabre (and particularly Smithsy) “All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead.” Founding guitarist Maurice Deebank had recently quit the band, and the increased presence of keyboardist Martin Duffy’s (pictured on the cover, he’d later join Primal Scream and play on their first two albums) organ lends an almost spiritual cadence to the songs… not to mention those densely-layered choral harmonies which never fail to make my hair stand on end. All 10 Felt albums are slowly being reissued under Lawrence’s supervision, and while Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty and Ignite The Seven Cannons certainly have their moments, this is the crown jewel of the catalog; up there with whatever is considered the best Smiths album and eons better than any of Morrissey’s overrated solo crap. Remastered from the original tapes by Kevin Metcalfe; sounds immaculate and well worth the wait. Recommended. (Note: the gatefold sleeve is on the delicate / flimsy side - open with caution)
- black vinyl pressing
- official reissue supervised by Lawrence
- remastered from the original tapes by Kevin Metcalfe
- housed in gatefold sleeve (note: thin ply cardboard)
- music label: Cherry Red
reviewed by military 2step 09/2018
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