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Poem of the River - EP

Felt

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Album Review

Red Krayola leader Mayo Thompson took over the producer's chair for this EP, but the sound was very similar to Felt's masterwork of the year before, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word. Focusing on the contributions of keyboardist Martin Duffy (who'd become singer Lawrence Hayward's main instrumental foil after the departure of guitarist Maurice Deebank), Poem of the River once again offered rich, organ-enhanced folk-rock topped with Hayward's droning but expressive vocals. Suggesting Lou Reed singing "Positively 4th Street"-era Dylan, it's a successful combination, especially on short, sharp tracks like "Stained Glass Windows in the Sky." The seemingly endless organ solos on "She Lives by the Castle" and "Riding on the Equator" dilute the impact somewhat, although the tunes themselves are attractive. Only the unusually (and unpleasantly) aggressive opener, "Declaration," fails outright. Meanwhile, though Hayward drops an evocative line here and there, there's nothing as front-to-back strong lyrically as "All the People I Like Are Those That Are Dead," a gem from the previous album. But overall, Poem was far more than a stopgap between albums, and has appeal beyond the Felt completist.

Biography

Formed: 1979 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Felt was the project of Britain's enigmatic Lawrence Hayward, a singer/songwriter who transformed his long-standing obsession with the music of Tom Verlaine and Television into an impressive catalog of minimalist pop gems and, ultimately, cult stardom. The first Felt single, "Index," was produced by Hayward alone in his bedroom on a portable cassette player; released in 1979, its primitive, impressionistic sound stood in stark contrast to the sleek solemnity of the new wave (as did Hayward's much-discussed...
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