ARTIST: The Feelies
TITLE: The Good Earth
YEAR RELEASED: 1986
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe “On the Roof” if you paid attention to college radio in 1986
LINEUP: Glenn Mercer, Bill Million, Dave Weckerman, Brenda Sauter, Stan Demeski.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Reconstituted band releases a jangly though mysterious album that unfolds its wonders over multiple playings.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: At first, most of The Good Earth seems like college radio background music from 1986, with restrained vocals, plenty of rhythm guitar and tasteful interplay between drums and bass. The occasional guitar solo broke through but most of it was nice and unobtrusive.
But after a few playings, this album becomes something different. The vocals act as another instrument, while the guitars chord changes and patters interlock seamlessly. It’s not as bright as other albums from the time, but it’s not depressing by any means. Hearing Weckerman and Demeski on percussion interact with the songs is a highlight, and the build up of “Slipping (Into Something)” is well worth the wait, with a restrained lead line and interesting changes.
It probably won’t win many new converts to the cult of the Feelies, but it’s a fine addition to their catalog.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Between albums, Million and Mercer played with several bands in the NYC / NJ area in several permutations.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Some extra covers and a live track.
GRADE: A-: Solid, and restrained, and definitely 1986 college radio with a calm twist.