One of the bittersweet delights of being a music fanatic is to be sitting on a band that history has passed over: to listen, investigate, enthuse, and have lived through the creativity of that which has been ignored by the many. It is a special and intangible intimacy.
I’ll make such a case for Felt.[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/17-Something-Sends-Me-To-Sleep.mp3|titles=Felt: Something Sends Me to Sleep] [audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/15-Evergreen-Dazed.mp3|titles=Felt: Evergreen Dazed]
Led by the eccentric and singularly named Lawrence, they are one of those groups who, despite musical talent, indie looks, and influence on others, never quite managed to garner the success they deserved. They remain fairly underestimated.
Now, your average RTH reader may find Felt an acquired taste. Clear and jangly ’80s guitars wedded with swirly organ (from future Primal Scream-er Martin Duffy), and Lawrence’s relish of failure expressed through vocals which recall The Fall, Dylan, or Tom Verlaine of Television.
[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/08-Fortune.mp3|titles=Felt: Fortune] [audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/07-A-Wave-Crashed-On-Rocks.mp3|titles=Felt: A Wave Crashed on Rocks]
Felt wove together a tapestry of Verlaine and Richard Hell, inlaid with the gold filigree of Maurice Deebank’s classicly trained arpeggios. The guitars don’t just provide noise in the background, but have a leading melodic voice that conveys the poetry. The guitars chime and ring, often aided by the production of Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie.
All that New York ’70s talk that Dylan and Patti Smith kept making about Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry of hallucinogenic imagery finds a place in the music of Felt. Lyrics are rife with black ships, Homerian vinyards, bejeweled knives, the Nazca Plain, and dying of shame.
Felt released 10 records in 10 years, and then called it a day, leaving the crown they never reached to the likes of Belle & Sebastian; the entire Creation Records roster; The Clientele; and current “it” bands, such as Minks and Beach Fossils.[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/01-Primitive-Painters.mp3|titles=Felt: Primitive Painters] [audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/09-The-Final-Resting-Of-The-Ark.mp3|titles=Felt: The Final Resting of the Ark]