Music Pick of the Week

The Feelies

In Between

Year of release: 2017

Hailing from Haledon, New Jersey, and making the kind of lo-fi indie rock during the late 70s/early 80s before lackadaisical cool was a hipster-approved paradigm, The Feelies are nevertheless a highly influential band. Their debut, 1980's Crazy Rhythms, is often cited as a major influence on bands like R.E.M., and solidified the genre of jangle-pop as a precursor to the explosion of alternative rock which would flourish a decade later. In 2011, the band would release their first album in 20 years entitled Here Before, but it's really their latest effort, In Between, that marks a true return to form.

Singer/guitarist Glenn Mercer and guitarist Bill Million, along with drummer Stan Demesky, percussionist Dave Weckerman and bassist Brenda Saute, lay down some positively beautiful tunes here; held together by prominent use of acoustic strumming, scattered distorted chords, laid-back vocal harmonies, and an overall atmosphere of life moving on. The track names; "Turn Back Time", Been Replaced", Time Will Tell", "Gone, Gone, Gone" etc, are indicative of the band's acknowledgement of the aging process, but on the whole, In Between is a mature record where the upbeat pastoral rhythms are constantly in service of something existing between youth and senility. As such, moments where the band really cut loose, like the extended guitar soloing and detuned jamming on the closing title track, are undeniably thrilling.

In Between is the sound of The Feelies creating subtle soundscapes which build simple song structures through clean guitar tones and scuzzy riffs. The vocals too, are of the campfire call-back variety; hushed and sublime, playful and melancholy. It's somewhat miraculous that in 2017, where it seems as if the world is completely falling apart, we have a new record from a band 40 years into their career that actually harkens back to a simpler time while also feeling like a vital dose of jangle for the current age.