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Felsen: Breaking Up With Loneliness

It is hard not to like the third album from jangly Popsters Felsen, however it is equally difficult to fall in love with it. Take for example the cover of album number three from the San Francisco five-piece, where a man sits lost in a park, surrounded by household implements and musical instruments. In the background someone in a rabbit suite holds a collection of balloons. It all shout "We're quirky and cooky and boy, are we gonna show it!" The music itself is bright, breezy Pop, with earfuls of acoustic strumming and keyboards, setting the scene for layered Beach Boys meets The Skys styled vocals that are actually pretty convincing. Lyrically however an album with the title Breaking Up With Loneliness allows no room for manoeuvre, with the constantly heart-broken words and relationship dissecting themes becoming tiresome and all too twee - the ultra irritating, yet amazingly catchy "BFF OMG", being the prime culprit.

That said, there are melodies aplenty, some nifty little instrumental touches, such as the slide guitar on "Temporary Diamonds On Display" and the classy keyboard work that evokes a far simpler musical era (no bad thing). However when it is all said and done, there just isn't enough variety, or in truth, killer hooks on show. By the time that you've headed towards the albums all too long closing track "Honolulu", even the bright, clear, cheery vocals are beginning to grate on the nerves. Then to compound things, the album makes the cardinal sin of closing on five minutes or so of ambient noise that float by with no purpose in the slightest. It really is becoming a personal gripe of mine when bands do this, as I have no idea who they think is actually going to find this sort of tuneless nonsense interesting enough to sit through it more than once?

Every time I've put on BUWL, I always seem to think, "Oh this is really rather nifty", but by the time the CD is halfway through spinning, I really am bored to tears. Maybe that all sounds a little harsh and indeed, to be fair there are a few really excellent Pop moments on this album that could catapult Felsen into the public conscience. However for every interesting twist on Breaking Up With Loneliness, there's a dull turn and for every catchy hook, there's an ever so repetitive chorus. Yes, sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth, but if you decide to take this album for a spin, best get the sandpaper at the ready....

Track Listing
1. Waterfall
3. The Secret Life Of Guns
4. Mary You Could Be Happy
5. Take Me Back
6. Breaking Up With Loneliness
7. Temporary Diamonds On Display
8. Ghost Of The American Experience, Parts 1 (Oscar Grant) & 2 (Blues For West Oakland)
9. Felsen's Gonna Save You
10. Don't Turn Your Back On Me Today
11. Honolulu

Added: March 17th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Felsen MySpace
Hits: 1806
Language: english

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