It was always a bit sad that Felt – and, of course, Lawrence’s – oft-noted/ boasted achievement of releasing 10 albums in 10 years before disbanding was split across two labels. This compilation, originally from 1990, captures Phase Two (1986-89), when the band were signed to Alan McGee’s Creation imprint.
Opening with the astounding, brief I Will Die With My Head In Flames, this was a band with a point to prove. Sure, we may still not know exactly what that point was, but it’s mixed up in forcefulness, subtlety and dry wit. Note – not humour; Felt music is serious but, at the same time, introspective, sorrowful, sarcastic, even ambient at points.
To lump Felt in with The Smiths is a common mistake. A better comparison would be The Fall at their most melodic, or Orange Juice, Durutti Column and perhaps Cocteau Twins – anyone, in fact, who never quite got the recognition they deserved in the 80s, but ploughed on regardless. Felt still don’t get the respect they should. It would be sweet, though perhaps unlikely, if this reissue got it for them.