The Feeling - Join With Us
'It's a rock 'n' roll disaster!' flamboyant frontman Dan Gillespie Sells exclaims on the upbeat Turn It Up. Well, he ain't wrong. It's not that rock music is any more credible than the out-and-out pop music that the Feeling love so dearly. It is that this second collection of songs is further proof, if it were needed, that the Feeling are the very definition of a 'singles band'.
With the incessant airplay given to current single I Thought It Was Over, you might have dismissed it rather than recognising it as the natural successor to the four solid singles lifted from their debut (let's all forget Rose). Nicking from ELO, Republica and Phil Spector, it proves what the band readily admit: they are huge fans of pop and are indebted to their influences. Stretched over twelve tracks, however, and the proposition becomes tiresome.
Whether it's a problem or a huge plus depends on whether you're already a fan or not, but the fact that they've broadened their instrumental pallette beyond that of a five-piece band is, I believe, the downfall of this record: why did a band that was so gloriously kitsch in the first place think it was a good idea to go even further over the top? Sugary ballads Without You and This Time are sure to be singles but the orchestral string arrangements ruin what could be simple but effective slowies in the vein of Sewn. Of course, this is a band that aren't short on their big gun pop numbers but even these fail to do the trick the second time round, tagged-on guitar solos landing us in Darkness territory.
While the title track and the so-cheesy-it-works Won't Go Away are worth a look, by the time grand finale The Greatest Show On Earth comes around, you'll be so fed up with them taking the piss and trying to be Supertramp by way of Led Zeppelin that you just won't care anymore. Pop works best when the complicated is made to sound simple, and many of the songs here sound like they're trying too hard. If there's one thing to take away from this album, it's that the Feeling are still better than the Hoosiers.