The Feelies - Here Before - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Feelies - Here Before

by Steve Reynolds Rating:7 Release Date:2011-04-12

The Feelies have been on the music scene since 1976, however there's hardly been a Fall style plethora of releases and this is only their fifth album and their first for 20 years. The band were early an early precursor to indie and their debut Crazy Rhythms is hailed as a major influence on the likes of R.E.M. They are no spring chickens so don't expect some revved-up punk and wanton throws of abandon, but what you can expect is intelligent, attention-to-detail, semi-acoustic guitar and a neat and tidy rhythm section.

Here Before sets its stall out early with opener 'Nobody Knows', a gentle mix of folky guitar and subtle basslines with the dry lines of Bill Million and Glenn Mercer's mellifluous harmonies scattered thinly across it. They keep the songs short, sharp and to the point. 'Again Today' is plain and beautiful and the craggy vocal sits perfectly against the chugging guitar.

The album isn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination but the warm fuzzy rhythms and the subtle arrangements more than surpass themselves, proving the band still has a point to prove to all the upstarts and the Johnny-come-latelys who come and go in the blink of an eye. There are tinges of alt-country in 'Way Down', while the haunting 'Morning Comes' with its gently brushed drums leaves a bright if melancholy feeling.

The Feelies' musical foundations are laid in simple guitar pop and I'd be astounded if they haven't had an influence on current indie bright lights - Pete & the Pirates. You can't help but find their formula so warming, highlighted on 'Change Your Mind' with its bittersweet ode to love.

Here Before is never going to be hailed as life-changing but I reckon most 50-somethings would give their right arm to be in a band churning out glistening pop gems and embracing the onset of middle-age. There's life in the old dogs yet!

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