Aided at the outset by a second guitarist, a rhythm section and little more, Birmingham singer/songwriter Lawrence Hayward fashioned a career in homage to Tom Verlaine without once attempting to play his music. On Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, Felt patterns itself after Television's guitar interplay, with occasional understated vocals that cross Verlaine and Lou Reed.
The instrumental passages are the true high points here, as the guitarists are both melodic and sympathetic to each other. Odd, derivative but exciting and evidently ambitious. With The Strange Idols Pattern (produced by John Leckie), Lawrence and his trio refined Felt into a strikingly attractive sound: clear guitar notes sparkle from every direction in a jewel-like blend that recalls Television without quite imitating it. Gold Mine Trash is a fascinating developmental chronicle of Felt's Cherry Red years: singles, album tracks and a fine pair of 1984 demos. The LP ends on a pivotal note: "Primitive Painters," an obsessive 1985 British indie-chart hit (with guest vocals by Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser) which incorporates swirling organ for an entirely new effect.
Question: I just picked up a Cherry Red sampler CD w/ "Primitive Painters" on it. Is the rest of _Ignite the Seven Cannons_ similar to this single, sonically? Seems like Robin Guthrie really stamped his influence on the single, compared to the clipped and clean guitars of, say, _Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty_...
Answer: "Ignite the Seven Cannons" is similar in sound to "Primitive Painters", but nothing comes close to that song's utter brilliance. If Liz really does sing on "The Day the Rain Came Down" you can't hear her. I'd still say it was Felt's best album though, with "Poem of the River" coming close.

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