So we've received the first Feelies record in ten years! Something to get deliriously excited about, a little injection of nostalgia from one of the past masters never goes amiss. Surely The Feelies will return to impress us with their shimmering sounds-capes and sweet post-punk. Sweeping away the cob-webs of the boring guitar bands of the day, showing the record buying public how it's really done.

But, the world has moved on since The Feelies were moderately successful, and while not leaving them behind, it has invalidated them somewhat. On Here Before the band don't really do anything to separate themselves from the herd. There's nothing that'll make anybody who is but mildly interested in the band stand up and scream “there's a new Feelies record and it's awesome!”.

This is because the particular brand of guitar rock that The Feelies produce has become somewhat old hat, but not quite old hat enough to count as nostalgic. We're now used to prominent bass-lines and textured guitar work. It's become essentially the norm, and the band haven't come back and done it especially better than anybody else. There's the odd nice bass line, or guitar hook and there's an assuring aura of competence about the whole thing, but it just feels decisively unexciting. There's no real change of tone, staying monotonous throughout. There are no stand out tracks, and while it's all ok, every song is good in exactly the same way. The listener therefore gets bored about midway into the album, and there's nothing to regain interest.

This is the main problem with influential bands returning after a long break, and not really changing much. They are surpassed by the groups that they influenced, and no longer feel relevant or special. The best reunion records, such as Portishead's Third, do something radically different to show that the band still has talent. The Feelies only show their assuring competence here, and there is very little to perk up the interest of anybody who is not a die-hard fan of the band.

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