In the aptly titled Here Before, The Feelies first album since 1991’s Time for a Witness, the band revisits familiar territory; evoking all the best from The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed and other peers from the burgeoning East Coast indie scene.
Formed originally in 1976, the New Jersey natives made a name for themselves early on and were named “The Best Underground Band in NYC” in 1978 by the Village Voice. They kept barreling through and influenced many “college rock radio” bands of the early/mid 80s; most notably R.E.M. The Feelies broke up in 1992 and reformed for live shows in 2008. They picked up where they left off and without missing a beat. Here Before is testament to their longevity and musicality. They’ve got the recipe and they’re not afraid to use it.
The current line-up could be considered their “classic” line-up … reuniting founders Glenn Mercer and Bill Million with Brenda Sauter and Stan Demeski (both tenures lasted 1983-1992) and Dave Weckerman (1984-1992). Here Before is a welcome return to when music was simple, passionate, multi-dimensional and dry. The songs are well-constructed, engaging, at times percussive, at times lush, and always pure. This album is one of those rare listening experiences where you can totally lose yourself in the melodies.