Artist: The Feelies
Album: Time For A Witness
Release Date: 03/11/2016
Recently reissued on Bar/None, Time For A Witness is The Feelies’ fourth studio album. Recorded largely live in a hayloft built for the Rolling Stones, these sessions capture a raw, organic energy akin to Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
The CD’s first song “Waiting” begins with a strangled solo by Glenn Mercer. My favorite track, “Time For A Witness,” starts with a Bo Diddley beat and then launches into a brisk two chord jangle, vicious guitar throttling and steadily building intensity. Brilliant lyrics beg the question, “How many more times, Might we be saved by the bell? Well, we could be in the garden, but we’ve made this living hell.” With gentle percussion and simple, droning chords, “Find A Way” draws one into a raga-like trance while contemplating an invitation to love. “Decide” features vocal stylings reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. They opened for Lou Reed on a number of occasions, and his influence abounds throughout their career. The following three tracks employ heavy chorus effects on guitar dating them to the 90’s, but “What She Said” returns to a rawer, more timeless sound. Here, Mercer’s murky singing recalls a gentler Iggy Pop. The Stooges were another major inspiration, and the last cut “Real Cool Time” is effective as a cover and in its own right.
Masters of jangle, strangle, drone and crescendo, the Feelies carved out a space of their own in late 80’s-early 90’s indie rock with a nod to their sonic predecessors. Perhaps with better management and more luck, they could have been bigger. Though relatively unknown when compared to groups like R.E.M., the Feelies stand the test of time and still play today. I highly recommend Time For A Witness.