Beautifully crafted, yet essentially empty, The Feeling return with some more...
Tom Young 2008
Given their niche appeal, The Feeling could not have chosen a better album title. The band continues to draw in a cult following, with those on the outside still perplexed by those on the inside and their love of the band's ELO/Wings/Elton John '70s-stylings. But it seems every generation has to have such a band: Anyone remember Jellyfish? It's common sense then that those sucked in by the band's debut, the insanely successful Twelve Stops And Home, will be drawn into the follow-up too. Join With Us is a lavish departure from its predecessor but the basic elements of fun, predictable and contagious pop remain the same.
The finest aspect of Join With Us is its ambition. Songs such as Turn It Up, Without You – complete with orchestral accompaniment - and Loneliness are free-roaming pop-rock efforts. Lead single I Thought It Was Over is another good example of the group’s lack of fear. A love story set around the fall of the Berlin Wall (yes, really), it changes pace, tack and melody regularly and successfully. It's clear that the band have tinkered with every instrument on offer and this will ultimately make or break the record's mass appeal. Having said all this it's then ironic that it is the most straightforward track, the ballad, Spare Me, that is the most palatable.
Yet, there’s a fine line between being intrigued and being baffled, and it's one that The Feeling tread clumsily on throughout. Take the use of a baby voice to close I Did It For Everyone, the frankly mental saxophone solo on Won't Go Away or the jaunty beat that takes you through the title track. All of these elements conjure an elaborate yet silly pop album that can be more trying than rewarding.
Worse still, despite some heavy subject matter, there is a lack of genuine feeling that makes a mockery of the London band's moniker. Predictable couplets frustrate and Dan Gillespie Sells' too-often light vocals belittle the huge effort put into production.
Finely wrought, then, yet instantly forgettable.