“Pop” may be a dirty word to some, but we should all face facts; It is here to stay! Ever since the likes of The Beach Boys and Herman’s Hermits wowed audiences with their catchy melodies & graceful harmonies in the ‘60s, the genre’s strengths have remained and whiz-bang technology can only update the style so much. With demand for pop music still high, it means that the likelihood of many bland & derivative outfits will ultimately exist. However, those performers who can successfully provide the masses with what they expect can look forward to a prosperous career. One such band is The Feeling, an English quintet that was the most played band on U.K radio in 2006, with three Top 20 singles and a debut LP that sold two million copies worldwide and reached #2 on the charts.
The Feeling do not attempt to do anything extraordinary or original. They know their limitations and predominantly stick within them. One track in and most listeners will realize that and probably know whether or not they would like to hear the rest of the album. And that is stated despite the fact that the U.K and U.S editions of ‘Twelve Stops and Home’ have different openers. The bottom line is that this brand of pop will either be your thing or not. Hence why you will see different reviews for this debut range from a perfect 5 out of 5 (The Guardian) to a 1 out of 10 bomb (DrownedInSound called this “the devil’s spawn incarnate”).
The formula is there for all to see: Dan Gillespie-Sells’ charming, yet grounded, vocals dominate the verses and are followed by catchy sing-along choruses that have varying degrees of layered backing harmonies. If anything, The Feeling excel when they slow the pace down a little, since two highlights come in the form of the alluringly likeable 6 minute lead single ‘Sewn’ and piano ballad ‘Rose’. Conversely, 4th single ‘Love It When You Call’ is simply as contagious a song as you are ever likely to hear, with its chorus almost assured of sticking in the minds of even those who despise it.
Influences are clear and plentiful with everyone from The Beatles to ELO and Supertramp (see singles ‘Never Be Lonely’ and ‘Fill My Little World’) sticking out like a sore thumb. The Feeling play it very safe musically with simple chords and rhythm progressions being assisted by keys. When they do get a little more experimental with synths and guitar solos towards the end of the album, it all seems too forced and uncomfortable. And don’t look for anything too outstanding lyrically either as any positives (the ode to being… umm… “different” in ‘Strange’) are negated by shocking lines such as “I got some sugar for your bowl, I got some lemon for your soul” (‘I Want You Now’).
In reality, ‘Twelve Stops and Home’ barely requires detailed description, since it can basically be summed up in one word: Pop. For the sake of clarification though, this is predominantly upbeat, occasionally cheesy and almost always catchy pop with some sporadic mainstream rock tendencies. That is all that is required to be known about The Feeling’s debut LP to ascertain whether or not it is for you.
Recommended Tracks: Sewn, Love It When You Call, Rose & Never Be Lonely.
Yeah, The Feeling were the band to hate on in '06, weren't they? Critics kept saying that their music was the absolute opposite of their name...but "Sewn" was a huge highlight of that entire year for me, so much so that aside from grabbing the entire album based on that one song despite all the negative criticism, I also wrote a song myself that is heavily influenced by it (just in terms of delivery and subtle pop-ness).
Oh, well. The album has seen it's prime for me, but it's still enjoyable.
I presume you are British Masochist, because they were not really all that well known where I reside in Australia. But no matter where one is from, you are correct in saying it seemed cool to hate them.
Good point Mitch. Although, I guess you could say that expectations could play a part in how people judge any type of album.
They have released an album since this debut. I will be reviewing that early next week. I don't think they would be too far away from recording their 3rd either. I don't believe they have broken up, but who knows.
Nope, I'm American...in fact, I've never left the country (and haven't seen too much of it, really). It's just...after the impact "Sewn" had on my music taste (which I hinted at earlier, but I'll spare the details of just how much impact it actually had), I decided to research them a bit more to see if it'd be worth getting the entire album. That's how I knew about them being the band to hate (the "My Chem" or "Fall Out Boy" of England, lol).
And yeah...expectation plays a HUGE part in how you judge an album. For a perfect example, see He Is Legend's newest one, 'It Hates You'.
I'm English and I think they're really good as a pop-rock band. The point in the review about them being the biggest selling band of that year is true in terms of coverage too. They got played a lot on BBC Radio 1 and even made it through to local radio (you have to be v. popular/mainstream to do that!), even seeming to become first choice when it came to TV montages (now overtaken by Take That). They had one popular single from their second album but it generally wasn't as popular as this one. I think they're making a new album atm...
Yeah, I could see how mainstream radio would eat them up. Pretty impressive for a debut.
And yeah, I know about the lead single from their 2nd album. And I know the album wasn't as popular as this one. There is a good reason for that & (as predictable as it is) I will divulge why in my next review come Monday'ish.
HI DAVEY :D I had an inkling this would be the band you were talking about.
Everything i've heard off this is good except Fill My Little World which is just far too gay.. they have a ridiculous knack for writing effortlessly good pop songs. My brother and I (neither of us being a massive fan of this kind of thing usually) spent the whole of 2007 wondering if they would ever release a single that wasn't enjoyable, haha.
Apparently Sewn is about the vocalist being into a straight guy.
But yeah, good review, pos'd. Pop is no dirty word!
Had a friend who liked this band a lot, but I just found them a bit too bland really. Feel good music with not really too much about it beyond the basics. Did you hear about their second album? Because pretty much no-one else did.
Oh come on Adam, no retrospective "inklings" can be believed if they aren't written down before the fact! Haha. If I can use Chan's favorite word, there is a lot of things about The Feeling which are a little gay. Didn't you get the little reference to it in my review? I don't think 'Sewn' is the only song that has those references.
pneumoniahawk, thankfully we did not have that over-playing problem down under. But I can imagine it would have been a problem in the U.K.
Thanks Ali. Catchy is an understatement.
Yeah barns, I have had the displeasure of hearing their 2nd album. I will be reviewing it on Monday. Let's just say that some of your words come into play. Namely the line where you said "...not really too much about it beyond the basics." But maybe not in the way you think. Stay tuned.
I don't think you'd like them anyway Croc. Think halfway between the Kaiser Chiefs & The Script.
Actually, I just remembered how I even heard of these guys. They were on an episode of 'Live From Abbey Road'. The next few days I had 'Love It When You Call' in my head & had no idea where I had heard it or who sung it. It eventually came to me.
Adam, despite the fact that you have yet to hear the full album, I am counting you as a supporter. I think I'm single-handedly reviving The Feeling's bandwagon... I have indeed sold my soul to the devil.