Uncool, dull, and entirely forgettable, The Feeling’s self-titled fifth album isn’t even worth being disappointed over.
A lot can change in 10 years. In March 2006, Sven Goran Eriksson was still the England manager, Twitter had yet to be launched, and British five-piece The Feeling were on course to end the year as the most played artist on UK radio. They return with a self-titled fifth album, in what we can assume is an attempt to salvage something from their dwindling career.
Somewhere between Scouting for Girls and Keane, The Feeling never really were cool. In the beginning that was fine, debut album Twelve Stops and Home had enough catchy songs for you to use the ‘I can’t get this out of my head it’s so annoying’ excuse. But come album five, that excuse runs dry.
The Feeling is the album that, in many ways, is most like their successful debut. ‘Feel Something’ could fit perfectly on Twelve Stops and Home, whilst ‘Alien’ shows the band’s heavier side with relative degrees of success. However, the problem with The Feeling is that it is completely and utterly forgettable, almost painfully so. Take lead single ‘Spiralling’; whilst it can’t really be heavily faulted, it just doesn’t have a lot going for it, it’s beige. It’s so Radio 2 even Radio 2 listeners will be bored.
I’m sure the five-piece will be the first to admit they’re not quite as big as they once were. In 2008 they played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. In 2015 they played the Dartford Festival. I’ve been to the Dartford Festival, and believe me, it’s not quite the Pyramid Stage.
But this aside, self-titling your fifth album is like trying to force yourself back onto the public, trying to convince them you’re still relevant. Sure, tracks such as ‘Repeat To Fade’ and ‘Let It Be Gone’ are nice to listen too, the lovely piano and the classic pop-rock build-up to the final chorus, but the minute they end it’s impossible to repeat a single part of the track. Nothing on The Feeling sticks in the head.
There is a real sense that the former BRIT nominees are just trying too hard; ‘all the shit they say’ is the first line in the chorus of ‘Young Things’. Swearing in songs doesn’t make you cool, you’re in your late thirties now, you should grow up a bit.
Ultimately, The Feeling is a tough pill to swallow. I actually liked Twelve Stops and Home. I also quite liked second album Join With Us. It must be hard to keep going as a band knowing what you produce now will never be as good or as liked as previous works. But unfortunately, The Feeling is less a good feeling, and more a feeling of stepping on an upturned plug in the middle of the night.
The Feeling is out now on Little World Records.