Felt: Gold Mine Trash (2023 Reissue) / Bubblegum Perfume (2023 Reissue) (1972) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Gold Mine Trash (2023 Reissue) / Bubblegum Perfume (2023 Reissue)


May 23, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Felt were sort of perfect. Helmed by one of alternative rock’s most interesting characters, the enigmatic Lawrence (full name Lawrence Hayward), they made 10 albums in 10 years and managed to encapsulate the sound of alternative music in the ’80s better than any band of their era. Unfortunately for Felt, by the time the calendar rolled over to January 1, 1990, their time was up. Jangly introspection was so last decade and grunge was lurking around the corner. If you’re looking for a gateway drug to the lovely, idiosyncratic world of Felt, these two reissued compilations, Gold Mine Trash and Bubblegum Perfume, will do very nicely.

Gold Mine Trash hoovers up the cream of their output from 1981-1985 for the Cherry Red record label. If you can push past the out-of-tune bass guitar on the opening track “Something Sends Me to Sleep,” you’re in for a treat. The compilation also includes the closest thing they ever had to a hit in the UK—“Primitive Painters” was released in 1985 and enhanced by a co-lead vocal with Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, it very nearly put Felt on the map. But just like almost all of the projects that Lawrence is involved with, it fell into the category marked “almost, but not quite.”

Nimbly hopping over to Creation for the latter half of the decade, Felt released six albums for the label, and while they performed well in the alternative and indie charts, they never got the chance to rub shoulders with the big boys. While The Smiths reaped the rewards of indie cool, Felt quietly shut up shop in 1989. Bubblegum Perfume catalogues the Creation years and serves as an introduction to the talents of Martin Duffy, later to find fame as the keyboard player for Primal Scream and The Charlatans. Duffy shifts the focus from jangling guitar to organ and much of the material he plays on begs the question “why weren’t this band huge?”

The collection ends with “Ballad of the Band”—a sort of nihilistic “Saturday Gigs” for disenchanted indie kids. The lyrics are sharp and painfully true: “It’s all my fault/Yes I’m to blame/Ain’t got no money/Ain’t got no fame/And that’s why, I feel like giving in.” Lawrence never gave in and he’s still making great records with Mozart Estate in 2023, but if you want to flip through his back pages, then either, or preferably both of these reissued compilations are a great starting point. (www.1972records.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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