A self-titled album midway through an artist’s career is usually a statement of some kind. Be it a musical reinvention (Blur), an artistic statement (Beyoncé) or colour-based silliness (Weezer, Weezer and Weezer), the eponymous non-debut is designed to catch your attention. So what are The Feeling aiming for with their fifth album? Perhaps it’s just a reminder that, a decade after their debut and eight years after their last top 10 single, they’re still going. The Feeling? The Feeling.
If you were being unkind, you could describe The Feeling as a less edgy version of The Hoosiers; a poor man’s Keane. But their drizzly-summer’s-day piano-rock scored them a handful of reasonably successful singles which were, if little else, quite catchy and inoffensive – fodder for DFS adverts, yes, but nothing to make you reach for the car radio dial in horror.
So what now? The five-piece have returned with a more mature sound, which in practice means fewer hummable hooks and more drudging ballads. The single ‘Spiralling’ is a quiet builder in the vein of Snow Patrol, and ‘Shadow Boxer’ is a quiet builder in the vein of Athlete. There is a slight change of pace on the tracks ‘Non-Stop American’ and ‘Alien’, with scuzzy riffs over rapid drums providing a release of sorts before one final quiet builder, ‘Sleep Tight’, this time in the vein of Razorlight.
There really is nothing groundbreaking to be heard on The Feeling, and while there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that – not every album has to be genre-redefining, after all – it’s not exactly impressive, either. Even Coldplay are changing things up now, if only a little bit. The Feeling are a band with a dearth of ideas, a lack of purpose, and a style well past its sell-by date.
[Ally Shaw – @radalias]