THE FEELING – Twelve Stops And Home (Universal)

There can’t be many people around who have not heard at least two or three songs by this band over the summer. ‘Sewn’, ‘Fill My Little World’, and ‘Never Be Lonely’ have been on constant rotation on the radio for months, and while I generally do not listen to much daytime radio even I perked up when I heard ‘Fill My Little World’ for the first time. It reminded me so much of the old pop songs that I loved from the 70’s by such bands as 10cc,that I made a mental note of the band’s name and bought the album unheard. It took a couple of listens to get into, but on about the third hearing it all suddenly clicked into place, and the best thing that I can say about it is that every single track is as good as the singles. There is not one bit of filler on here, and to come from a band so young that they probably were still in nappies when 10cc and ELO were doing this sort of this in the charts is astounding. They have mastered the melodies, harmonies, and hooks that make up the classic pop single, welded it onto the powerpop sensibilities of bands like Fountains Of Wayne or The Sights and dragged them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Like 10cc, they can also up the guitars when needed, with the end of ‘Helicopter’ having a glorious heavy metal feel to it, and many of the other tracks having guitar solos that would normally never see the light of day on a pop song. For lover of intelligent pop music there is something here for everyone, from the powerpop of ‘I Want You Now’ to the tender balladry of ‘Rosé’ and the untitled hidden track at the end, to the XTC inspired ‘Helicopter’, not to mention those great singles. It is not often that I enthuse like this about a ‘pop’ group, but The Feeling have managed to produce a fantastic pop album without selling out to the crass commercialism that this usually entails. Lets hope the success doesn’t go to their heads and they continue to produce more music of this calibre.