Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Feelies' "Here Before": Music Review
Not as exuberant as "Crazy Rhythms" or as Dylanesque as the angrier "Time for a Witness," so this extends more the Feelies as they were in the mid-to-late '80s. This mid-tempo, steady, strumming pastoral outing reminds me of Luna, where drummer Stan Demeski went after the Feelies, and New Jersey neighbors Speed the Plough & Yo La Tengo (a member of StP & YLT get nods in the liner notes). Those who followed Wake Ooloo, Glenn's solo work, and the earlier side-projects such as the Trypes will recognize signature sounds swirling about now and then. Not to mention those who admire another group who rose as the Feelies settled, Galaxie 500.
I like the understated vocals, more unassuming even on the peppier "Time is Right," as they provide a solid foundation for the band. "When You Know" and "Way Down" catch the ear right away. There's an insistent riff within Velvet-like "On and On" even if I hear fewer percussion tricks from Dave Weckerman outside of this tune, but repeated listenings may bring out more secrets. The guitar work on this song digs in, under layered drones.
There's an appealing maturity to this ensemble, with Brenda Sauter's bass on "Bluer Skies" underpinning the optimism that invigorates this impressive, yet modestly inspirational more than melancholic return from one of my favorite bands. I've waited a long time for this, the fifth album, from one of my favorite bands. Glad to hear it turned out so well. (Posted to Amazon US 4-20-11 & Lunch.com 4-21)