The Feeling - Twelve Stops and Home
As the seasons turn into summer, the mind is often turned to the thought of POP - sitting out with some friends and some tunes, driving down a sunny highway with the stereo blasting out - its pop that we need in the sunshine months, something light, not dreary, to ease into our minds and memories. And where better to start to get mood flowing than slapping on the debut album from The Feeling, a band with both feet firmly planted in Planet Pop.
The Feeling are five twentysomethings from Sussex and London who love that pop sound - no nonsense hooked filled music with massive choruses. But these are more than just songs to get the milkman whistling - the songs have that degree of wit and intelligence that makes it more than simply a guilty pleasure. The sound harks back to that moment in music where Andrew Gold, ELO and 10cc owned the charts - soaring, liberating music with heart and soul.
The engine room of The Feeling is music writer and lyricist Dan Gillespie Sells. He admits that he doesn't do concise, that prog rock epics with ludicrous outros are much more his cup of tea. At the same time though, there are no lavish orchestrations here. The album is full of light touches - an epic quality, but not smothered in strings and sounds.
The band themselves are hardly an overnight success - all of them have cut their teeth in a variety of groups and as session musicians. Friends for many years, a mutual love of music saw them form covers band The Alps. However, at rehearsals, they also experimented with original material, which brings us to Twelve Stops and Home.
The two singles so far are both brilliant, but at the same time very different. Sewn is a slow building masterwork of gentle choruses and light verses, leading into an epic finish before dwindling away into piano and harmonies. On the other hand, Fill My Little World is a musical masterclass, full of melody with a killer chorus.
Opening track I Want You Know is actually one of the weaker songs on the album, leading into Never Be Lonely, a song full of contrasts, one minute Tiny Dancer by Elton John, the next minute a stuttering Supertramp. The two finest moments on the album though are Strange, a beautiful piece played mostly on piano with a light guitar rhythm, and Same Old Stuff, a colossus of melody - shifting from place to place, it is a song rammed with wonderful ideas, scorching guitars and playful piano.
Those who are, dare I say it, a little snotty about music may not find anything here they like. There is however a quality present to lift the band way above the pop sounds of McFly and Busted. They are treading the path that Silver Sun tried to take us down, or the songs of Jellyfish, or even the finer moments of Teenage Fanclub. This is music at its most pleasurable - its not very artsy, it won't teach you anything about life or leave that much of a lasting impression, but boy, will you have fun listening to it.