Saturday, July 14, 2007

That Feelies Feeling

After an overlong absence (setting aside a few online samples from some side projects), Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer is back on the scene with his first solo album, Wheels In Motion. It's not exactly a solo album, strictly speaking, as the players include various friends and bandmates from the Feelies and other interrelated bands -- and thus, not surprisingly, it sounds like it picks up where the Feelies left off. The good news (to my ears) is that Mercer has left behind the more droning, hard-rocking sounds of the final Feelies album (1991's hit & miss Time For A Witness) and his sub-par 1990's band Wake Ooloo. Instead, there's much more of an organic, pastoral sound, not dramatically afar from mid-period Feelies and spin-off projects like the Trypes. At the very least, it's a healthy helping of pleasant background strumming and Mercer's trademark Lou Reed-inspired understated sing-speak. I wouldn't call it a great album; the melodic hooks and breathtaking beauty that made Feelies highlight The Good Earth one of the finest albums of all time are nowhere to be found. But for those of up who cut our teeth on the acoustic/electric post-VU guitar soundscapes of Mercer's myriad bands, it's a fine release and one worth a summer spin.

So, hey, anyone in the mood for a classic Feelies video? Thought so. (And, geez, can you remember the days when a Feelies video might actually get played on MTV, even relegated to a late-night slot on 120 Minutes? Ah, the glory days...)

Incidentally, I was trying to track down a video of the Volvo commercial that uses the Feelies' wonderful "Let's Go." No luck. But, hey, say what you will about selling out and all that, but I sincerely hope the guys make a shitload of money from it... unfortunately, all four of the Feelies' albums are out of print, so if you want to pick them up you've gotta track them down used. Un-freakin'-believable.


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