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The Feelies

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The Feelies


Usually, the first thing out of everyone's mouth about the Feelies has to do with the guitars -- those frenetic, frazzled, jittery, jagged guitars. But by too often playing the guitar card, critics have downplayed the band's unconventional use of percussion. On the band's legendary debut, all four members lent a hand to give each song an irresistible backbeat decked out in nervous tics and shivers, all of it washed over by a flood of burbling, buzzing, chiming guitars. Vocals fall somewhere in between Jonathan Richman's nasal drip and Iggy Pop's zombie carnie spiel. But what impresses most about Crazy Rhythms is still the beat! Many of the songs start out as percussive cat-and-mouse games that break into a scamper once the guitars show up. This record will send you, willingly or not, into a convulsive nerd mating dance. In the landscape of modern rock, it towers majestic in the middle of nowhere since nothing comes close to sounding like it, not even subsequent albums by the band. The Good Earth, their second album, has a more rustic quality that makes it feel like a drive across the Great Plains on a fistful of Mini-Thins. Only Life retained the rusticity of the second album, but was covered with the track marks of the Velvet Underground. All three of these records are incomparable, important albums, but it's the first that will get under your skin the quickest and stay there the longest.
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