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The Feeling - 'Twelve Stops And Home'
(Saturday June 10, 2006 10:54 AM )

Released on 05/06/06
Label: Island

The striking thing about "Twelve Stops And Home" is not how boring it is. After all, boring records get released all the time. Most records are boring. Take a look at your own collection: there's bound to be boring stuff in there. No, the really striking thing about this one is that, seemingly, it's supposed to be boring. Just take a look at that title: what does it tell us about the intentions behind this debut album? Do The Feeling wish to recreate the feeling of a long, dull train journey? If so, they've certainly succeeded.

This is music to be piped softly over the PA at Pizza Express. It's devastatingly mundane. Some bands write songs about extremes of emotion: about heartbreak, elation, love, sex, despair. But The Feeling? They've actually got a song called "Kettle's On". Others are called "Love It When You Call", "Rosé" and "Blue Piccadilly" (a London Underground reference). Presumably we'll have to wait until the next record for "I Tried To Ring Earlier But My Battery Was Dead" and "All Going Well, We Should Exchange Contracts Next Thursday".

Relentlessly bland and bourgeois, "Twelve Stops And Home" sounds like the product of focus-group analysis. It radiates insecurity, with every note and lyric pleading for your approval. Listening to it is akin to being stuck on a train next to a guy who really, really needs everyone to overhear his mobile phone conversations. You can tell that The Feeling are veterans of failed indie bands and that, like the Kaiser Chiefs, they've spent ages planning how to shift units this time around - in this case while playing power-pop covers at some ski-resort in France. But at least the Kaiser Chiefs are a bit of fun. There's nothing fun about "Twelve Stops And Home".

The record opens with "I Want You" and "Never Be Lonely", a brace of upbeat songs that, essentially, string a load of Hallmark-card clichés together over jaunty funk-pop backing, mustering a few stillborn attempts at wit along the way. Amazingly, these tracks turn out to be the highlights. Once the single is out of the way ("Fill my little world right up, right up"; you've heard it), you're faced with nine whole tracks (plus a 'bonus' track) in which nothing really happens. Well, there's one tiny surprise, when "Blue Piccadilly" opens with a rock riff (albeit an antiseptic one), but it's so quickly abandoned as to suggest a practical 'joke'.

The prevailing mood is one of weary melancholy, the kind you might feel when you realise you forgot to pay the electricity bill. The music is heavily processed and entirely unmemorable. Put simply, it's nothing music. So please, avoid this record. You really deserve better.

    by Niall O'Keeffe

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