Felt - The Splendour of Fear

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2018-02-23
Felt - The Splendour of Fear
Felt - The Splendour of Fear

Splendour of Fear was the second Felt album, with Lawrence taking full reigns (as if there was any doubt before that, and Maurice Deebank with one foot out of the band's exit door. On its surface, it was just one more set of songs in the line of Velvets/Television-inspired Felt albums. But that was just the surface.

Actually, as the album title might already suggest, Lawrence was in some dark place at that moment, and so was the music on this album. The sound is in no way dissimilar to first two Felt albums, but, as "Red Indians", the opening instrumental sets in, it is like somebody has cast some rain clouds over the proceedings. Lawrence's vocals (as do the backing vocals on “The World Is A Soft Place") sound as if they are coming from a third room on the left - cool and detached.

But all the other trademarks and qualities Lawrence and Felt exhibited before that are intact - intricate melodies and guitar interplay, creating one of the blueprints to be used later on for what is now dubbed lo-fi pop. On the other hand, Lawrence's' insistence on interspersing vocal albums with instrumental tracks, something he might have picked up from Brian Wilson and his instrumental interplays on Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile (purely instrumental albums are yet to come), may have in a way set a pattern later picked up by many so-called post-rock bands that favour putting their guitars up front. As was the case with Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty, the sound has been cleared up enough to give the music yet another layer of atmosphere, without taking that lo-fi effect Lawrence might have been after anyway.

The additional duo of songs on this reissue “My Face Is On Fire"‚ and "Trails of Colour Dissolve" complement fully the tone and the atmosphere of the album.

Taking a more general view, on the evidence of the six albums Felt came up with between 1981 and 1986, it became obvious that Lawrence was a man with a vision. In many ways, as was the case with his other projects, later on it became tunnel vision. But tunnel vision in the sense of Lawrence being a man that persists on a certain path until he deems that he has exhausted it, and that it was time for him to try something else. Which he did.

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