Thursday, April 24, 2008

Album Review: "Join With Us" - The Feeling

"That difficult second album".

I've noticed a trend over the past five years that when the second album comes around, various bands/artists have been unable to sustain the greatness of their debut album. (Exhibit A: Keane. Exhibit B: Scissor Sisters).

So the big question was, would "Join With Us" by The Feeling be as good as its predecessor, "Twelve Stops and Home"?

First single "I Thought It Was Over" is certainly a punchy start and the promise of a new direction, however it is not really reflective of the rest of the album.

Who decided that "Without You" would be the second single? It's a bit drippy and sickly sweet. I'm not a ballad fan as you know, and this song about being far from "London town" isn't one of their best.

What got The Feeling noticed in the first place was its singalong anthems with a strong 70s influence. The title track brings it back and proves, deep down, that they might just be the long lost children of Pilot and Andrew Gold.

"Spare Me", another ballad, it's ok but gets a bit plodding.

"Turn It Up": this may well be this album's "I Love It When You Call" with the 'oww-oww' hooks from "Fill My Little World" thrown in. Frighteningly catchy, and surely a future single, although by this point on the album it's clear that there's nothing better or equal to the best tracks on "Twelve Stops..." - even the tracks from that which weren't singles, like "I Want You Now" or "Helicopter".

"I Did It For Everyone" - it's ok.

"Won't Go Away" - cheerfully retro foot-tapper which is far too cheesy for words - it even has a sax solo! Nevertheless, I quite like this.

"Loneliness" - another rather good track with a catchy chorus.

"Conor" - his vocals are just a wee bit annoying on this.

"This Time" - it's back to the plodding ballads :(

"Don't Make Me Sad" - If Chas & Dave's "Ain't No Pleasing You" was sung by a stylish-looking bloke in a posh English accent, then you get the idea. Not bad.

"The Greatest Show On Earth" - an ambitious, epic closer. Again another ballad, although the sheer quality of the musical arrangement here sets it apart from the rest.

"We Can Dance" - a nice, foot-tapping end to the album.

There's nothing really wrong with "Join With Us": it's a rather good album, but it's not a great one.

The verdict: Yet again (IMHO) we have another band whose follow-up album has not matched the greatness of their debut. Guilty!

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