When The Feeling released their debut record in 2006, they fell just short of the summit of the album chart, but to give a flavour of the musical landscape at the time, chart-toppers that year included Keane, Snow Patrol and Embrace. Seven years on and the quintet are now preparing the release of their fourth album, which will be supported by an eleven-date UK tour beginning October 21st 2013.
From the beginning of opening track 'Blue Murder', it is very clear that The Feeling's sound has not evolved from the style that brought them commercial success. Mid-tempo and with a soaring chorus, the title track is a formulaic rock ballad comfortable on mainstream radio, but it fails to genuinely rouse. 'Anchor' follows very much the same pattern with Dan Gillespie-Sells providing what was likely intended to be a passionate vocal delivery, but in truth is more akin to a man in desperate need of a laxative. Despite some clumsy lyrics, 'Rescue' does provide a small uplift by utilising a simple hook, while 'Fall Like Rain' has a mesmeric quality that the band would do well to develop. However, 'A Lost Home' is tripe that you could imagine the likes of Westlife releasing - perhaps it's one for their scrapbook should a reunion ever surface.
If the first half of the record doesn't give much reason for optimism, the latter end also disappoints when 'The Gloves Are Off' appears. It's another predictable, by-numbers ballad, that tries desperately too hard to be emotive - you could be forgiven for giving up on 'Boy Cried Wolf' at this point. It is, however, at this time that things improve. By stripping back their sound, 'You'll See' provides a much better setting for Gillepie-Sells' fragile voice and it all connects nicely. Unfortunately, they fail to resist the temptation to throw the wall of sound in toward the track's climax, but it's still a vast improvement on many of the predecessors. Finale 'I Just Do' also leaves a good impression, thankfully so considering it clocks in at nearly nine minutes, with the decision to drizzle a touch of blues proving key. It's a positive note on which to end an album which all too often fails to inspire, but at least there are a few moments to get in touch with The Feeling.
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