Paul Davies Reviews "Let the snakes.../Poem of the river", on Q

Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Pointed Heads * *

Reviewed: May 1991
Genre: Rock & Pop
Release Date: 19-Feb-1991

Having all but taken up residency in the independent charts over the last 10 years to the delight of the trainspotting tendency, Felt's singer and songwriter Lawrence did a Kenny Dalglish last year, presumably to spend more time with his family. These two LPs represent the very best and worst of Felt's peculiarly English blend of indie pop and unashamed navel examination. 1986's Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Heads To Death fails spectacularly to live up to the interest generated by the title, consisting as it does of10 throwaway instrumental tracks of uniform vapidity which clock in at the frugal time of 18 minutes and 29 seconds. The sketchy combination of electric organ, quiet guitar and bossa nova rhythms sounds like the undiscovered soundtrack to a badly dubbed Scandinavian epic. In comparison, the six songs and 27 minutes of Poem Of The River shine brightly in the quality control department. The spartan minimalist pop of Declaration, Silver Plane, Riding On The Equator and Dark Red Birds utilise the core ingredients of Lawrence's mumbled half-spoken vocals, swirling Hammond organ and deftly struck guitars to giddyingly memorable and melodic effect. Strongly reminiscent of The Velvets in their quieter moments, Felt's shy, self-effacing pop rarely sounded as good as this again. Let us hope that Lawrence reconsiders his premature retirement and makes a speedy return from the golf course.