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The Splendour of Fear

Felt

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Album Review

On The Splendour of Fear, Felt still hasn't figured out how to tame all that glorious atmosphere into a distinct vision. The classically trained Maurice Deebank can unravel glistening guitar scales like nobody's business — and Lawrence's obtuse vocal delivery certainly possesses an uncanny charm — but this release can be monotonous at times, lapsing too often into meandering guitarscapes. The tone of the album is set on the first track, which opens with an extended dirge-like instrumental that finally gives way to Lawrence's vocals. The eight-minute-plus track "The Stagnant Pool" is a highlight here, simply because it seems purposeful — with Lawrence's ominous vocals giving way to an emotional, melodic guitar jam that anticipates the later work of the Smiths' Johnny Marr.

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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