80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Felt

I have to admit, this one has me scratching my head. Since hearing “Primitive Painters” a few years ago (and far after the time it was first released), I became immediately smitten. This song remains high on my list of top 100 singles I would have to have on a deserted island. From that perspective alone, I decided to feature Felt in my criminally underrated series.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that this prolific group released 10 albums throughout the 80’s! I truly had no idea. That’s one of the great benefits of maintaining this site. It’s a learning, as well as teaching process.

Felt formed in 1979 in Birmingham, England. Its core was comprised of songwriter Lawrence (that’s it – just “Lawrence”) on guitar and vocals, Maurice Deebank (guitar and co-songwriter), Martin Duffy (keyboards), Marco Thomas (bass and guitar), and several other members who wandered in and out throughout the decade. Felt started out with an airy sound, quite different from the birth of post-punk and New Wave burgeoning about.

The album that I am most familiar with is Ignite The Seven Cannons which didn’t make it’s appearance until midway through the band’s career. This album contains the beautiful and timeless single “Primitive Painters,” which also features Elizabeth Frazer (Cocteau Twins) on backing vocals.

From Wikipedia:

In 1989 Lawrence declared it had been his intention all along to release ten singles and ten albums in ten years and, having done so, announced the end of Felt. After releasing their last album and undertaking a short tour the band split up. Lawrence went on to form Denim and, later, Go Kart Mozart.

Two albums that followed Ignite the Seven Cannons are solely instrumental: Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death and Train Above the City. Also, two other post-Cannons LPs are cited as Felt’s masterpieces: Forever Breathes the Lonely Word and Poem of the River. It looks like I have some exploring to do to better familiarize myself with this unique band. If anyone has any personal experience with Felt music to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll find “Primitive Painters” to be as beautiful and inspiring an anthem as I have. If the music doesn’t get to you, then the lyrics certainly should:

© 1985 Felt

I just wish my life could be
As strange as a conspiracy
I hold out hope but there’s no way
To be what I want to be

The dragons blow fire, angels fly
The spirits wither in the air
I’m just me I can’t deny
I’m here, there and everywhere

Oh, you should see my trail of disgrace
It’s enough to scare the whole human race
Oh, you should see my trail of disgrace
It’s enough to scare the whole human race

I don’t care about this life
They say there’ll be another one
Defeatist attitude I know
Will you be sorry when I’m gone

The primitive painters are ships
Floating in an empty sea
Gathering in galleries
Nostalgists of imagery

Oh, you should see my trail of disgrace
It’s enough to ruin the whole human race
Oh, you should see my trail of disgrace
It’s enough to ruin the whole human race

Buy Felt music here.

“Primitive Painters” via YouTube user junkshopper:

“Cathedral” via YouTube user MarkTurver1990:

“Rain of Crystal Spires” via YouTube user secretshine:

“Grey Streets” via YouTube user secretshine:

Discography

Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty (1982)
The Splendour of Fear (1984)
The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories (1984)
Ignite the Seven Cannons (1985)
Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death (1986)
Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986)
Poem of the River (1987)
The Pictorial Jackson Review (1988)
Train Above the City (1988)
Me and a Monkey on the Moon (1989)

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6 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Felt

  1. Cool (((((((Ed)))))))) – I really love the one song, and I am sure I am going to find even more to love. 🙂
    Thank you!
    xo

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  2. That’s my philosophy, as well. But – we are very fortunate that life didn’t pass us completely by without finding the nuggets we missed. I would be truly lost without Gary Numan in my life right now. I wish I had been a Numanoid 30 years ago, but am grateful for the second chance. 🙂 xo

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  3. I’m so elated to read this. Felt has been one of my very favorite bands since 2007. I was just telling a friend they’re criminally underrated. This post made me smile wide.

    Favorite Felt song: “All the people I like are those that are dead.” What a title.

    Favorite album: Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty. People compare Lawrence to Tom Verlaine but to my ears, he’s more like a shimmering Lou Reed, with rhythms that are reminiscent of ancient shamans, especially on that first record.

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