Just look at that beautiful sleeve. It signals the return of New Jersey's veteran pop meisters the Feelies for their first work in over six years. The band seem to exist on a different timescale to most bands and just release albums when they feel like it. Their laid back Velvet Underground inflected albums are starting to influence younger batches of guitar strummers most notably Real Estate who share a very similar aesthetic so this will be a much anticipated return.
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The Feelies just release records when they like. They have released records in the years 1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 2011 and 2017. In the years in between they have not released records. It’s perhaps this slow moving approach to their art which has led them to exist for a full 40 years.
I really enjoyed their 2011 ‘comeback’ ‘Here Before’ and it’s quite a surprise to have another one a mere six years later. ‘In Between’ is as laid back as music gets. The Feelies aren’t here with some kind of super hero plan to grab their crown of strum pop kings back off Real Estate but have probably returned simply just because they like making nice music nicely. Guitars chime away - one in each ear (natch), all cues are taken from the Velvet Underground’s third album and at the age of 96, Glen Mercer’s voice is now lovingly careworn.
My only criticism of the record really is that the home production doesn’t have the sparkle of some of their early work. At times it sound like someone has recorded a particularly laid back practice session with the band nodding off at various intervals. Therefore it doesn’t have the same kind of warm caress that enveloped such records as ‘Only Life’ (someone please re-issue before we all die). The Feelies have always been about slight variation in the same idea and the mixture of basic production and some familiar themes leads to a certain sense of 'heard this before'.
Yet give me a sunny day with little to do and I’m sure this album with provide a warm and jangling comfort just as much as the remainder of their stellar back catalogue has often done. Not their best work but it’s lovely to have them around.
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- In Between by The Feelies
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