I know what you're thinking. You're asking yourself "Can the Feelies, two decades later, still capture the strange innocence and Boy Scout pop-ism they wielded so adroitly all that long while ago?". And you're probably answering yourself, too: "Nawwwww, no one can travel that far down the line and still be a teenager." Well, Here Before is here now to prove ya wrong. Just as Dwight Twilley recently re-emerged (here), dropping a Care package from the clouds to allay growing nervy worries, The Feelies reunited to return to Pleasantville, this time with a sharpened delivery (catch the lead solo in Should Be Gone—yow! 'member Fripp playing with Blondie?) but still resident in that same baseline which endeared the ensemble to the era's drug-choked and slam-dancingly jaded affections.
The Feelies have always had a Patti Smith-ish tang to them but with a much more elevated melodic sense and a number of strange side avenues of progressivity. This is what undoubtedly what attracted Dylan, REM, and other notables to share stages with the gents, a feeling of kinship in paving a broad understructure of simple basic rock with not entirely explainable sophistications as offramp markers. The band's well-known smothering relationship with the Stiff label led to a life-giving break back in the day, and the present Bar None association, well after that old injury, seems much more admirably suited, sympathetic to the band's trad/eccentric ways.
So don't expect wang-dangs and bomb bursts with this klatch. They were always a baffling blend of geek, novo western, early Talking Heads mutation, depresso-mumble rokk, and post-folk; thus, categorizations aren't exactly going to be limited to bumper-sticker phyla. On the other hand, there was also an abundance of 'up' Durutti Column and Rain Parade in the mix as well, elements that kept the boys well out of Goth and suicide melodies. Too, the antecedents in Lou Reed are clear, so the middle ground remains the real home to this ensemble that ever it was…and we all know there ain't no damn place like home.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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