high note

high note

FELT never let you go (1989)

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album : Me and my monkey on the moon Felt's main man, Lawrence, had a plan. Ten years, ten records, then break up the band. This is that tenth record and Felt goes out on a high note. Me and a Monkey on the Moon is the most musically accomplished and personal record of the band's career. It is emotional, funny, and loaded with memorable melodies, some of Lawrence's best. Felt always came across as incredibly remote and icy. The sound was sparse and jagged, the lyrics -- when not vague -- were hostile and acerbic, and Lawrence's vocals were pitched somewhere between Lou Reed and talking in his sleep. Me and a Monkey on the Moon is so intimate and personal that it almost sounds like a different band. The record sounds like Lawrence's autobiography, with songs about childhood, family, lost love, and the end of Felt; eight of the ten songs have "I" in the first line and they are all sung in a voice aching with loss and regret. The emotional nature of the lyrics and singing is bolstered by the lush and autumnal musical backing provided by the band. Martin Duffy is amazing here; he plays a wide range of keyboards from piano to mellotron to ARP string ensemble with just the right notes and feeling. The record is filled with instrumentation that was totally new to Felt, like long rock & roll guitar solos, pedal steel guitars, and female backup vocals. It all works to create a rich and heartfelt farewell to Felt, full of sentiment but not sentimental -- the sound of a band reaching its potential and kissing it goodbye. As great as Lawrence's next band, the glam and novelty rock-inspired Denim, was, it is too bad he didn't further explore the adult and emotional sounds of Me and a Monkey on the Moon.