The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
The Feelies! Fringed types who can remember as far back as 2003 will doubtless remember the average Fa Cé La cover on the Rough Trade compilation. Oldies might remember the original LPs… an older brother of a mate had the debut, which we would surreptitiously listen to, (along with his Bunnymen, Talking Heads, REM and Postcard records) whilst he was out chasing girls.
The feeling on listening to the reissue is surprisingly similar to the feelings I had listening to it back in 1982-3: the band’s quiet, understated vibe was once that could wash over you if you didn’t pay attention. If you did, you felt a bit uneasy at the psychotic nature of the music. There were things going on that we didn’t fully understand. How were we to know that Forces at Work was one of the best (and earliest) tributes to Neu!? There is a feeling of Josef K’s LP too in tracks like Moscow Nights, but maybe that’s just the vibe of the time I picked up on in hindsight.
How Fa Cé La was stripped of all its strangeness on that Rough Trade covers LP might lead one to say something profound about modern rock alternative artists, (if I could be arsed that is). What I will say is, Fa Cé La is a bloody weird song for a single and still has its power after nearly 30 years. And if that jaunty psychosis isn’t enough for you then check out the cover of the Fabs’ Everybody’s Got Something to Hide (Except for Me and my Monkey). A cover version that inspired said mate’s older brother’s father to disparagingly comment on the nature of modern rock alternative artists…
I thought it a strange LP then; and I do now. And, just like then, I never listened to the 1986 follow up The Good Earth, despite being old enough to buy it in my own right (the Smiths and Cocteau Twins were ruling the roost by then), and somehow can’t summon the psychic energy to do so now with the reissue lying on my desk. Despite the fact that I’m sure it is really great. No, for me the Feelies must remain hermetically sealed in their own strange, perfectly formed world.
Words: Richard Foster