The Upshot: The band sounds relaxed, confident that it can deliver its songs without overloading on its trademark sound.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The Feelies have always been the kings of jangle rock. The New Jersey quintet’s Byrds-meets-Television guitar clatter defined the hordes of college rock guitar bands that followed them as sharply as that of their peers R.E.M. But In Between, the band’s sixth album, explores a different side of the Feelies.
Recorded in a home studio instead of a professional facility, the ten songs (and one reprise) have a sedate vibe, as if the musicians were recording in the basement while trying not to bother their families. Acoustic guitars reign, with electrics turned down to “just enough” volume and the rhythm section allowing itself to be relegated to the background. “Time Will Tell,” “Stay the Course” and the peppy “Turn Back Time” wipe the dust up rather than kick it, and even the fuzz-loaded “Been Replaced” keeps the volume at a low-key rumble. “Pass the Time” and “Make It Clear” are so quiet they’re almost lullabies. Only the rollicking “Gone, Gone, Gone” and a psychedelic jam reprise of the title track approach the band’s signature rush, and even then they simmer more than boil.
This isn’t to say the Feelies sound enervated here – far from it. Instead the band sounds relaxed, confident that it can deliver its songs without overloading on its trademark sound. In Between takes more spins to reveal its charms than is usual for the Feelies, but the effort pays off handsomely.
DOWNLOAD: “Turn Back Time,” “Pass the Time,” “Gone, Gone, Gone”