The Feelies: Here Before Review
When writing yesterday about the two “classic” Feelies albums, Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth, I talked about the difference between the herky-jerky postpunk of the former and the smoother, indie pop of the later. Both of the albums were grossly underappreciated by the masses, which surely was the main cause of the group going virtually silent for much of the two decades. That changed this year when the band got back together with their “classic” lineup and recorded a brand new studio LP, Here Before.
When I heard the news, I hoped that the songs would fall closer to the manic Crazy Rhythm era Feelies than the more pop based Good Earth era, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. While still showcasing the bands strong songwriting chops, Here Before proves to be a little sleepy and soft around the edges over the albums 13 track, 45 minute lifespan. Songs like “When You Know” are rich in melody and gentle instrumentation, creating the kind of sound cocoon the band did so well on Good Earth, but don’t quite have the kick that those songs did. It isn’t terribly surprising the that the band has mellowed (it has been 30 years since Crazy Rhythms came out), but songs like “Morning Comes” feel too much like gentle singer-songwriter material than the exciting and groundbreaking work the group has created in the past.
Here Before feels both nostalgic and world weary, but more in a depressing way than a one indicative of the skills and experience that should be propping it up. It sounds like an album written for the low volumes of a suburban coffee shop more than one to really captivate listeners, which is a shame. When a band comes out of a slumber that lasted nearly 20 years, it isn’t surprising to find that they may have slightly lost their edge, but the mundane material on Here Before is disappointing even when considering this fact.