[25 April 2007]
Twelve Stops and Home, the debut from UK quintet The Feeling, finally washed up on American shores in early 2007 after hitting the rest of the world mid-2006. Although the band’s big hooks and delectable melodies border on pure power pop, lead single “Sewn” would paint the group as the kind of sensitive, radio-friendly, barely-alt, melancholic rock easily programmable alongside Aqualung and Coldplay. Their US label, Cherrytree, seems content to play up this angle by re-sequencing “Sewn” to track one and replacing the original, giddily colorful artwork with a new, moodier cover. Don’t be fooled, though. Much like Split Enz, the Feeling only dabble in the minor keys long enough to add an extra wallop to their majorly ebullient choruses. “I Want You Now”, which leads off the UK edition of Twelve Stops and Home, works this formula to perfection. The quirkily lovely “Never Be Lonely” mixes a pastoral verse with a spiky, keyboard-led bridge into an un-ironic rock guitar solo. “Love It When You Call” is classic, triumphant power pop of the Raspberries and Shoes variety. “Kettle’s On” and “Rosé” return to the bluer tones of “Sewn”, although both songs are still melodic as all heck. In fact, the Feeling should feel ashamed for cramming so many great melodies into one album. Couldn’t they leave a few good riffs behind for everybody else? On the final track, “Blue Piccadilly” (a line from which became the album title), the band still have so many ideas left that they patched them all together for a nearly nine minute pop epic, like mixing side two of Abbey Road with most anything by Sparks. The Feeling aren’t cool or edgy, but, if you love good guitar-and-keyboards pop, Twelve Stops and Home will own your world.