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“All the People I Like Are Those That Are Dead” — Records Under the Radar

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Now, isn’t that a cheery sentiment?  That lovely title above is brought to you by the criminally under-heard British band Felt.  More specifically, it comes from the silver tongue of Felt’s front man and lead singer, the rather mundanely/mysteriously named Lawrence (his last name has never been solidly confirmed).  They released exactly 10 albums and 10 singles, from 1979 to 1989, at which time Felt unceremoniously disbanded.

Their sound is organ driven, layered with jingly jangly guitars and vocals that recall Lou Reed channeling Morrissey.  This writer generally disdains such lazy critical descriptors (“They sound like the Beatles covering Black Sabbath!”) but in this case it’s just too accurate. 

Lawrence weaves couplets about lost love and broken dreams in a reedy (no pun intended) voice that’s half-spoken, half-sung.  Despite the dark imagery (sample lyric from the song mentioned in this post’s title: “Maybe I shoud take a gun/And put it to the head of everyone/All the people I like are in the ground/It’s better to be lost than to be found”), the band maintains a poppy sensibility, albeit one tinged in melocholy.  It’s no surprise that Stuart Murdoch, of Belle and Sebastien, cites Felt as his biggest influence; you can hear it in the meandering bass lines, and in that warm electric organ sound.

Perhaps the band’s defining statement, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word serves as a great starting point.  Sample that album’s sparkling opener, “Rain of Crystal Spires,” below, and feel Felt.

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