In our heart of hearts, we all know we shouldn’treally like The Feeling. We know that they’re musicfor mums and accountants’ secretaries, aband whose destiny should have been to play coverssets at corporate parties in Dubai and Coventry. But,let’s face it, it’s just impossible to hate somethingso glorious.
The Feeling’s saving grace is their utterunpretentiousness combined with the same resplendentlove of a good pop tune championed by bands such asAbba and The Pet Shop Boys – with lessshowing off involved. In the middle of this, they’vesomehow managed to make sounding likeSupertramp acceptable to people who wear skinnyjeans so tight they can hardly breathe.
How this works at all is a mystery. How they manageto do it without being camp, too nerdy, too smug ortoo boring is a musical version of The Da Vinci Code.On second album Join With Us, they repeat theirwinning formula from Twelve Steps And Home, addstadium strings and transatlantic ambition, and comeout sounding like Keane with credibility and asense of humour. And, of course, with much bettermusic.
This is all mixed in with the cheeky cleverness ofthe boy you know your mum will like when you bring himhome. The disposability of lyrics such as “From thebottom to the top/I thought it was over but it’s not”on the opening track plays to their strengths, pullingXfM and Heart to the same bosom as it sits them downwith afternoon tea and cakes for a nice chat backstageat KOKO.
Elsewhere they swing effortlessly from bittersweetromance (Without You, Loneliness) to upbeat brassydanceability-cum-heavy metal riffage (Join With Us,Spare Me) to gentle pop-rock (Turn It Up, I Did It ForEveryone) to simple chirpy cheeriness (Won’t Go Away).You’ll find luxurious stadium strings on Conor(possibly the album’s best track), a killer pianointro on Don’t Make Me Sad and then, at the end of thealbum, The Feeling’s piece de resistance.
By finishing on the dark, moody and gloriouslyVictoriana-soaked The Greatest Show On Earth, DanGillespie Sells and pals could almost be accused ofshowing off, proving that they could ‘do a Coldplay‘any time they want, and take Chris Martin at his owngame in the process. At the moment, they don’t wantto, they’re too busy making our little lives light up.But as a warning for the future, they’re showing whatthey’re capable of. If this is their ‘difficult’second album, then the world is their oyster, and theycan take it any time they want.