The British music scene in the mid noughties was a promising place for guitar bands. The surge of indie bands in the top 40 coming in the form of Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs (paired with an underground scene of upcoming wonderkids like The Cribs and a fresh faced Arctic Monkeys) created a frenzy in the music industry for anyone with a waistcoat, fringe and guitar.
The Feeling were a band to definitely benefit from this, 2005’s debut record Twelve Stops And Home reaching a respectable #2 in the charts and a string of top 10 hits including the ever popular Fill My Little World and Never Be Lonely – remember? More popular with the cardigan wearing dads and rom-com loving “aww isn’t he sweet” moms of the world, the band were perhaps a more middle of the road offering but provided rather catchy singles you’d be lying to say you hadn’t caught yourself humming.
Second album Join With Us provided similar results but 2011’s Together We Were Made saw the band falter with the band’s worst charting LP to date, but things can only get better right? If latest effort Boy Cried Wold is anything to go by, maybe not. Gone are the upbeat numbers that made their fame, the cheesiness remains however, and anyone who likes that about the band needn’t worry, its pretty constant.
Singer and former Brit School student Dan Gillespie-Sells has always respectably embraced the band’s more cringeworthy side, often admitting to being perhaps a bit ‘uncool’. Boy Cried Wolf however manages to outdo the band’s previous efforts on both counts. Album opener Blue Murder sees Gillespie-Sells straining his voice in what feels like an amateur performance of a play your particularly soppy friend wrote. Similarly theatrical moments come in the form of the ploddy A Lost Home and bland lead single Rescue with its particularly laughable “she’ll be coming down the mountain” style chorus.
Lyrically the singer is rather morose with details of some rather shambolic relationships with the line “When you’re in love its a blow right to your head” being the dramatic epicentre of The Gloves Are Off,whilst You’ll See has a bitter refrain of “You’ll see it all when somebody treats you like you’ve treated me”. Its not at all Gillespie-Sells’ writing at its full potential, catchy hooks are replaced with lines like “You say I’m not an arsehole, something of course only an arsehole would say” awkwardly crammed into a short couple of chords.
The rest of the group aren’t quite up to scratch either as trudging pianos dominate most tracks joined by sparse, strummy guitars and boring drums. Empty Restaurant may be the band experimenting slightly with more electronic instruments, but the random dub beat included at the end just feels pointless. The one exception to this is Fall Like Rain, genuinely the band at their most exciting with the Jeremiah brothers bringing impressive piano and guitar solos to the table. Its a real shame the band didn’t take the risk to take this direction on the rest of the album.
Capped off with a sickly sweet hidden track dedicated to Gillespie-Sells’ niece (sample lyric: “Soon we’ll go to the zoo, maybe the circus too”), its enough to melt the overly sentimental of hearts perhaps, but an intense ‘bull-dog-chewing-a-wasp’ cringe for many. Chart success doesn’t look like its on the cards, if anything its just another eleven songs for the hardcore fans, not the kind of statement a band on the brink of obscurity should be aiming for. If Boy Cried Wolf has one benefit, it’ll serve as a nice stocking filler for your nan this Christmas. Its better than socks… probably.