Felt Absolute Classic Masterpieces * * *

Reviewed: October 2000
Genre: Rock & Pop
Label: Cherry Red
Release Date: 1996-10-14

Having their later years repackaged by Creation, it's Cherry Red's turn to document unsung indie stylists, Felt. Spearheaded by Lawrence Howard (warbly vocal and second guitar) and Maurice Deebank (lead guitar), Felt were always aware of melody first, sentiment second, and arty post-punk attitude a forgotten third. Their songs were unusually fragile confections, more influenced by Television and John Barry than punk, especially the instrumentals, where twin guitars painted subdued, glacial colours, before perfecting a style of emotive guitar-pop The Smiths were busy fortifying and commercialising. Lawrence also shared with Morrissey a neat line in in self-deprecating irony: "You should see my trail of disgrace/it's enough to scare the whole human race," he whined on his finest hour, 1985's Primitive Painters, where Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser's stirring counter-vocal threaded a particularly mercurial melody.

Reviewed by Martin Aston