Here Before And Back Again: The Return Of The Feelies

The Feelies
Here Before
Bar None

Written by:

On a brisk San Francisco night some 20-odd years ago, I was in a sweaty pit throwing myself around to the driving music of The Feelies.

As they broke into their second encore (which consisted of “White Light/White Heat” by the Velvets, and “Real Good Time” by The Stooges), the Great American Music Hall was in virtual pandemonium. The band had wrung us out and even through the cheers of “mooooorrrrre,” in our heart of hearts we could stand no more.

The Feelies rocked THAT hard.

To hear that after a 20-year layoff The Feelies recently released a new album brings on so many internal conversationsCould it really be that long ago? How do certain things from the distant past seem like last week? Will the music still hold up? Am I really that old? Jesus. All these musings are seemingly not lost on the band – appropriately calling the new work, Here Before

For those of you either (a) needing a reminder, or (b) not old enough to remember, The Feelies hail from New Jersey and put out five albums in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. Their names are Stan, Glenn, Bill, Brenda and Dave. The songs are, for the most part, built on famous rock chords: C, D, G, A & E. The lyrics are so very simple; the messages are thoughtful and slightly hopeful. With three verses and a chorus, and a few classic chords, The Feelies can go farther, deeper and harder in a single song than most bands will get in an entire disk.

On Here Before, The Feelies continue their legacy – not at all encumbered by the need to impress, or to sell, and the new stuff has the feel of that sweaty pit so many years ago. Some of the slow songs (“Morning Comes”) feel like long drives on a slightly curvy highway with no impending appointments. On the rocking tunes, where most bands are wrapping up a nice, tight, solo (“Should Be Gone”), The Feelies briefly downshift into third, punch it, drive up the RPM’s, and rip it into fourth gear.

My take on Here Before?  

Glad you’re back…