Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Felt: the second five albums

Forever Breathes The Lonely Word
The archetypal second period Felt sound - Dylan’s wild mercury sound, poetry and pop - is this album. The Dylan influence had been suggested by the previous single Ballad of the Band, especially on the sleeve which was a clear reference to Dylan’s album Desire.

This is many people’s favourite Felt album. They’re wrong. I have a different opinion. It’s still brilliant, though.

Poem of the River
The opening song Declaration sees Lawrence, never a stranger to the maudlin, announce: "I will have as my epitaph the second line of Black Ship In The Harbour". That second line? "I was a pauper/I was second class/I was a moment/That quickly passed.”

That’s the start of Felt’s best album of their second phase. They made a number of records that deserved to make them successful. Poem of the River should have made them massive.

The Pictorial Jackson Review

Side one is 8 pop songs that mostly check in at around the 2-minute mark. It’s very easy to imagine any of them being near the top of the charts as singles. Lawrence never wrote such a sustained body of joyous, faultless pop songs.

Side two is a couple of cocktail jazz numbers written by Martin Duffy. Oh dear.
(8/10 - 10 for side one, 0 for side two)

Train Above The City
Felt was Lawrence’s idea, but it would have amounted to nothing without guitar virtuoso Maurice Deebank. When Deebank left, Lawrence recruited organ supremo Martin Duffy. Lawrence was in awe of both musicians during their respective tenures. Too much so in the case of Duffy who he let write a jazz album.

Lawrence wrote the song titles, which are glorious. I give you Press Softly On The Brakes Holly as an example.
(0 for the music, 8 for the song titles)

Me and a Monkey on the Moon
Maurice Deebank correctly said: “Even the albums that were made after I left have my fingerprints all over them.” On the final Felt chapter, Lawrence recruits John Mohan, formerly of The Servants, the only guitarist capable of recreating the Deebank sound.

Mobile Shack's moog and chugging rhythm points to where Lawrence would get to with Back in Denim, and where early 90s indie went, many of them on magazine front pages, the telly and the charts. Lawrence was never in the right place at the right time to achieve his dream of fame, but many of these records remain timeless.

Not enough for you? I wrote about the first 5 Felt albums.

Cherry Red reissue the second set of Felt's albums on 21 September 2018.

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