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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.

Customer Reviews

ridiculous

It's a very short, very awesome listen. Fey, jangly, soaring and beautiful.

The songs stick in your head, I wouldn't be bothering to write this if it wasn't true after 20 years of listening to and loving this album. A Sunday morning classic, indeed....

Beautiful Silhouettes...

Beautiful silhouettes adorn the cover of this EP giving a glimpse of the wonderful music that is contained inside. My only complaint is that the record is too short. I would like to have seen several more tracks of the same caliber as the ones on this collection added. That said, the compact disc release (Rough Trade/Creation CD 6-53) has both Poem of the River & Forever Breathes the Lonely Word. These two releases do go well together and make for a coherent listen.

The Forever Breathes the Lonely Word album has it's merits on it's own. However, the Poem of the River EP packs six brilliantly simple yet uplifting tracks wrapped in dolorous lyrics delivered in classic Lawrence-esque somber style.

My favorite track has to be Riding on the Equator. The "dueling guitar lines" that interplay with one another leaves you wanting more even though it tracks in at 8:47. The song could keep going on forever.

Also have to give props to Lawrence for sub-referencing his own work "I will have as my epitaph the second line of Black Ship in the Harbour." Which is of course, "I was second class."

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...
Full Bio

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