Album Reviews

The Feelies

Only Life

Artist:     The Feelies

Album:     Only Life

Label:     Bar/None

Release Date:     03/11/2016


With a quieter sonic palate and more strummy acoustic guitars, Only Life is a different album for the Feelies. “Too Much” begins with guitar swells and vocals that call for an answer to “How come I get so excited? Your soul so ignited.” Glen Mercer’s semipsychedelic guitar solos bring to mind the Byrds and are more lyrical and less strangled than on Time For A Witness. Utilizing heaps of ’80s chorus pedal tones, the riff on “Deep Fascination” brings to mind early R.E.M. albeit with more subdued vocals.

“Higher Ground” balances musical melancholy with a desire for “seeking light.” With its chugging guitar riff, “For A While” evokes classic 80’s college rock. Here Mercer’s singing emulates both Lou Reed and David Byrne with nice backups from the band. The Feelies managed to get maximum mileage from two chords and avoided total dejection by speeding up the tempos toward the end of their tunes. “The Final Word” is punkier with stops and starts, and is rousing for its chorus. “Too Far Gone” kicks immediately into high gear with a blistering guitar solo and driving beat. Most of the tunes on this record are lyrically minimal; the kick comes from the energy of a band running full steam. “Away” seeps in with ethereal strumming, that increasingly picks up speed like a train leaving a station. The effect is that you want to dance. Closing out the album is the Velvet Underground classic “What Goes On” which the group does justice with its own flavor. While not as great as Time For A Witness, Only Life showcases a more melodic side of the Feelies and keeps the fun going with driving rhythms.

-Michael Cobb

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