The Feelies are, quite simply, the most consistent rock act that this country has produced. I say that because, unlike just about any other group I can think of that's lasted this long, The Feelies have never had a weak period, nor some album run where they tried to (embarrassingly) court bigger success. The things that make up the appeal of this band have never faltered, and the group has continued to offer up music that has been worn many labels -- college rock, and then alt-rock, and now indie -- and it's always been wonderful. And, on the occasion of the release of the band's newest album, the fine In Between, out Friday via Bar-None Records, it's worth repeating all those things about the music of The Feelies once again.
From the gentle rhythmic pull of "Time Will Tell" and on to the languid "Pass The Time", it's clear that the members of The Feelies are at least cursorily aware of the passing of the years. While the group members are all older, the music has remained pretty much the same as it's been for most of this band's albums. If "Gone, Gone, Gone" works up a near-sweat like something off of Time For A Witness, the majority of the cuts here are more subdued, recalling Only Life tracks more than Crazy Rhythms ones, for example. A song like "When To Go" spirals down with a certain relaxed calm, Glenn Mercer leading the group through its paces, and "Make It Clear" adds a slight hint of a Western vibe with a slide guitar joining the mix. Elsewhere, on the title cut, The Feelies echo their earlier records with a deliberate and quiet confidence.
The Feelies -- here in the original line-up of Glenn Mercer (guitars, vocals), Bill Million (guitars, vocals), Stan Demeski (drums and percussion), Brenda Sauter (bass guitar, violin and backing vocals), and Dave Weckerman (percussion) -- remain the sort of act that listeners should be thankful for. If In Between doesn't radically alter the Feelies formula that's okay as the material is a joy to listen to and the sort of thing that will reward fans both old and new.
[Photo: Uncredited image from the band's Facebook page]