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First five albums by influential Eighties indie group Felt remastered & reissued

 

First five albums • Remastered • 12” Vinyl or CD+seven-inch box set

February sees the reboot of the first five albums by Felt, one of Britain’s best post-punk bands, via the Cherry Red label. Boasting the splendid names Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty, The Splendour Of Fear, The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories, Ignite The Seven Cannons and The Seventeenth Century, each album is available either on 12-inch vinyl or as a CD plus seven-inch single boxset.

Felt truly were an Eighties band. Birmingham-born Lawrence (who does actually have a surname – Hayward – in real life) actually released a solo record under that name in 1979, but the band was formed the following year when schoolfriend Nick Gilbert and local guitarist Maurice Deebank – who became Lawrence’s co-writer – came on board. (Gilbert switched from drums to bass when Tony Race joined as a drummer, but Race was soon replaced by Gary Ainge, who proved to be the only other ever-present in the band aside from Lawrence.) Lawrence set out with the goal of recording ten albums and ten singles in ten years, and with that target achieved by 1989, Felt was duly dissolved.

Always doing their own thing regardless of contemporary trends, Felt never enjoyed mainstream commercial success, but their music has influenced the likes of Belle and Sebastian, Tim Burgess, Manic Street Preachers and The Clientele.

Signed up to Cherry Red, the young Lawrence had grand hopes of making the best debut album ever by an English band. Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty, recorded and mixed in six days and released in 1982, never gained such acclaim, but it included fine tracks such as Cathedral.

The follow-up, 1984’s The Splendour Of Fear, featured cover art taken from the poster of the 1966 film Chelsea Girls, and The Optimist And The Poet was one of four instrumentals on the six-track album.

Another instrumental Crucifix Heaven has been omitted from previous reissues of The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories (originally issued in 1984), but has been recalled for the February 2018 release.

Felt’s fourth album Ignite The Seven Cannons (1985) was notable for their collaboration with Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. Guthrie produced the record and Fraser’s extraordinary voice provides backing vocals on Primitive Painters, which was released as a single and topped the UK indie charts.

Lawrence wasn’t happy with the overall sound of the album though, and for the purposes of this reissue, John A. Rivers was given access to the original master tapes and he remixed six songs, while side two of the record has been ‘focused, edited’ and ‘made symmetrical’ with the culling of Serpent Shade from the original tracklist.

Felt’s fifth album – and first for Creation Records – Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Heads To Death consisted of short instrumentals and clocks in at less than 19 minutes in total. For this reissue, Lawrence has decided to revert to the original intended name for the 1986 album, The Seventeenth Century, reasoning that “if Kraftwerk can and Bowie can, I can too!”

These five albums have been unavailable for many years on vinyl. All revisited and remastered by Kevin Metcalfe and Lawrence, the reissued 12-inch vinyl editions of each record is presented in a deluxe gatefold sleeve.

The CD boxsets each come in a bespoke seven-inch box, with the original album in a special gatefold sleeve, plus a long-since-deleted seven-inch vinyl single pertaining to the relevant year of release, reproduction gig flyers, a double sided wall poster, and four button lapel badges.

Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty, The Splendour Of Fear, The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories, Ignite The Seven Cannons and The Seventeenth Century will be released on 23 February 2018.

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Felt

Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty - CD+seven-inch in box

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Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty - gatefold vinyl LP

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Felt

The Splendour of Fear -CD+seven-inch in box

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The Splendour of Fear - gatefold vinyl LP

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Felt

The Strange Idols Pattern and other short stories -CD+seven-inch in box

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Ignite the seven cannons -CD+seven-inch in box

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the seventeenth century -CD+seven-inch in box

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Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty

  1. Evergreen Dazed
    2. Fortune
    3. Birdmen
    4. Cathedral
    5. I Worship The Sun
    6. Templeroy

Seven-inch single in CD box set:

Something Sends Me To Sleep / Something Sends Me To Sleep

The Splendour Of Fear

  1. Red Indians
    2. The World Is As Soft As Lace
    3. The Optimist And The Poet
    4. Mexican Bandits
    5. The Stagnant Pool
    6. A Preacher In New England

Seven-inch single in CD box set:

Trails Of Colour Dissolve / My Face Is On Fire

The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories

  1. Roman Litter
    2. Sempiternal Darkness
    3. Spanish House
    4. Imprint
    5. Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow
    6. Vasco Da Gama
    7. Crucifix Heaven
    8. Dismantled King Is Off The Throne
    9. Crystal Ball
    10. Whirlpool Vision Of Shame

Seven-inch single in CD box set:

Penelope Tree / A Preacher In New England

Ignite The Seven Cannons

  1. My Darkest Light Will Shine (remixed)
    2.  The Day The Rain Came Down (remixed)
    3.  Scarlet Servants (remixed)
    4.  I Don’t Know Which Way To Turn (remixed)
    5.  Primitive Painters
    6.  Textile Ranch
    7.  Black Ship In The Harbour (remixed)
    8.  Elegance In D
    9.  Caspian See (remixed)
    10. Southern State Tapestry

Seven-inch single in CD box set:

Mexican Bandits / The World Is As Soft As Lace

The Seventeenth Century

  1. Song For William S. Harvey
    2.  Ancient City Where I Lived
    3.  Seventeenth Century
    4.  The Palace
    5.  Indian Scriptures
    6.  The Nazca Plain
    7.  Jewel Sky
    8.  Viking Dress
    9.  Voyage To Illumination
    10. Sapphire Mansions

Seven-inch single in CD box set:

Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow / Sunlight Strings

40 responses to First five albums by influential Eighties indie group Felt remastered & reissued

  1. Pingback:More Felt deluxe reissiues on CD & vinyl | superdeluxeedition

  2. Larry C. says:

    Received my 5 boxes this week – surprised to see they were signed by Lawrence – on the sticker on the outside of the shrinkwrap! Is that some kind of a joke?

  3. Ignite the Seven Cannons isn’t the only album of this lot to have undergone musical changes – I’ve just discovered that ‘Crucifix Heaven’ is over a minute-and-a-half shorter than it was originally…

  4. Pingback:SDE Reissue Preview for 2018 | superdeluxeedition

  5. Renato says:

    Though Felt was one of my favourite bands in the 80’s since the second I first listened to their stuff (Primitive Painters, on a radio show or maybe at a friend’s record store), I have to admit they made some atrocious records as well – the album now known as The Seventeenth Century, formerly Let the Snakes etc etc, and Train Above the City being the main offenders, IMHO. But I still regarded them as a fantastic band, capable of making some of the best songs I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to. Too bad it all ended with Me and a Monkey on the Moon and Space Blues.
    As for this particular reissue campaign, well… I’m definitely out. I hate the current vinyl fad, so it really pisses me off to find out that they plan to force me to buy useless (to me, since I don’t even have a turntable anymore) 7” singles in order to get new CDs and some interesting trinkets. It’d be nice to finally get Crucifix Heaven, and I’m curious about these new Ignite the Seven Cannons remixes, but I’ll pass. There’s absolutely no way I’m going to pay the absurd price they’re asking so I can get some 7” singles that will never be played. Sorry, Lawrence. I’m still a fan, but this was a little too much.
    P.S. – I’m still waiting for that B-sides and rarities compilation which was promised years ago… it was supposed to be a companion album to Stains on a Decade, but unfortunately it never materialised. Well, who knows – maybe this time we’ll finally get it. I’d be a Day One buy for me, even if it came with a useless 7” (which I’d bet that would be Index).

    P.P.S. – On a totally unrelated subject: Paul, do you know if we’ll ever see the three Dream Academy albums reissued in a neat “remastered and expanded” format? I’d buy those instantly.

  6. Stephen says:

    This is really strange. Till I saw this post, i’d never heard of Felt. Don’t think they ever graced the airwaves here in Australia. After reading the comments here about how good they were, i’ve been listening to their albums constantly for the last few days and like what i’m haring a lot.

    I wish i’d known about them back in the day. Thanks for exposing me to this wonderful music!

  7. Mark turrell says:

    Sadly, more jiggery pokery from Lawrence. Cutting track from ignite is silly. I might be interested if they can guarantee the CD’s come from new masters, because the original of splendour of fear for example has distortion on it, and all previous cherry red issues had the problem (mastered too hot I fear).
    He knows what all us Felt obsessives want, which is the odds and ends CD from the original Felt CD box set reissued with all the early b-sides, but I’ll be dead before that happens.
    One note about the vinyl. The original Cherry Red pressings are awful, and start crackling after a handful of plays, so these might be better. Who knows. Glad I kept mine, they go for silly money now.

  8. Neil says:

    The product page on Amazon for Ignite The Seven Cannons has the artist listed as Squackett and even all the reviews are about that album. I have noticed this a lot on Amazon recently with the wrong information displayed.

  9. Andrew Taylor says:

    Single editions of the cds at an affordable price please.

  10. Dr Volume says:

    I love Felt but I agree the deluxe CDs are expensive. I’m a fan but I can’t justify buying all the boxes but they do look lovely – there are posters and badges in there and I believe the copies are signed if you order direct from Cherry Red – so I’ve picked ‘Ignite…’ which is a great album. Cocteau Twins fans need this one as Robin Guthrie is all over it and of course there’s the sublime and unlikely duet with Lawrence and Liz Fraser. I’m looking forward to hearing what Lawrence has decided to do with it – (CT fans may prefer to track down the original if the Cocteau Twins swirly production has been dialed down a bit though). I’ve gone for ‘Strange Idols..’ too as I never managed to find the CD.

    If yr in the UK Vinyl versions are 19.99 direct from Cherry Red which seems reasonable for doublc gatefold LPs if you ask me.
    https://www.cherryred.co.uk/felt-decade-music-first-five-albums-will-released-23rd-february-2018/

    Agree with others – a more affordable, no-frills career spanning box set of all the CDs would be great and who knows, maybe that’ll follow. Lawrence also has a new record coming out in his Go-Kart Mozart guise entitled ‘Mozart’s Mini-Mart’ – you can order that from Cherry Red too.

  11. auteur55 says:

    I was so excited when I heard Cherry Red was doing a Felt reissue campaign. The 10 album concept was brilliant and with all the different compilations collecting different rare tracks I was hoping for 2 disc versions or a box set. The visual possibilities and content of a Felt box set could have been extraordinary. They are one of my all time favorite bands and right now you have to buy the small mini-vinyl albums, the unappealing two-fers and several compilations to get everything.

    So I was extremely disappointed to see the CD reissues being chopped up a bit and stuck with a 7 inch for a high price. No attempt to gather up all the compilation tracks and b-sides unless you can play these 7 inches (which I have no interest in doing ). I really want these and I still may buy but this is a huge missed opportunity. Felt are screaming out for a box set especially with so many albums being shorter. This could have been an opportunity to introduce this band to so many more fans but I doubt too many will take a risk on these for the price. And I know this is selfish and only pertaining to myself but I don’t want to have to buy Vinyl to get the remastered CD.

  12. Benjamin Adams says:

    IGNITE THE SEVEN CANNONS is the one I’d want above all, but half of it it’s been remixed and a song’s been cut.

    I’ll keep looking for an original. Sigh.

  13. Larry Davis says:

    These releases got be excited, until I saw that many of these albums were so short (one being 19 minutes??? That’s an EP, not an ALBUM, sorry)…and instrumental-heavy, and pricey!! I’d rather have them all together in a nice tidy box…and there is one, so I found it on Discogs and put it in my wantlist…

  14. Schu says:

    Also never heard this band, but can’t get into it at those prices. As was stated, that Pentangle box (also a group I never listened to but thought I’d try based on the box layout and the Amazon.de 3/2 offer) is the way these things should be configured to get the best value – all CDs, nice small shelf-sized box, decent per CD price. Although that is probably not what they, record company and/or artist, are going for in this case.

    Somebody say 2 album CD available :)

  15. eric says:

    Always loved “My face is on fire”. Soundtrack of my youth … which i heard on “va – Pillows & Prayers”

  16. Chris says:

    This is a band I’ve never listened to, and have meant to, given that lots of bands I love (like the Clientele) cite them as a big influence. But man, these prices.

  17. Penelope Tree says:

    Worth noting that the 10 & 10 in a decade concept is widely thought of to be something he came up as the decade was winding down, not his original plan. God love him.

  18. Elliot says:

    I’d buy all the albums in a heartbeat if they came with just the CDs. The vinyl doesn’t interest me and I don’t want to spend £25 for each album if I can help it.

  19. ross says:

    felt records are usually 50p each in charity shops these days & same price as the eighties as they never sold well

    • frattonlad says:

      Yeah. Right.

      You may not be aware that charities like Sue Ryder, Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation all have valuers. Most of their vinyl is priced way beyond the 50p mark (mine BHF in Pompey had a copy of fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night priced at a tenner not so long ago…)

      Additionally, I have never seen Felt (CD, tape or vinyl) in a charity shop so if you happen to have a motherlode near you let me know as I am very interested – especially at 5op a go.

    • Dr Volume says:

      You’d be lucky to get any Felt original LP for less than £20-30, and even the reissued CDs go for good money as they’re all long out of print. The singles go £20+ too. If they didn’t sell well then that’s another reason they’re less likely to turn up for sale anywhere never mind a charity shop. The originals will also retain their value as Lawrence continues to tinker with track listings, titkes, sleeve art, mixes (as he’s perfectly entitled to do).
      Oh and then there’s the mythical debut 7″ – Index – there’s one copy on Discogs for £330 so if you see that for 50p snap it up.

  20. Yani P says:

    Moths months…whatever :)

  21. Yani P says:

    or wait a few moths when they will be 12 quid a piece :)

  22. Craig says:

    Ordered all 5 vinyl LPs direct from Cherry Red for £108 delivered a couple of weeks back so they can be picked up cheaper than the Amazon price here. And I imagine all the choices about the CD + 7″ formatting are directly made by Lawrence himself.

  23. Gansbarre says:

    Paul, Any idea if Cherry Red will be doing a box set with all these vinyls included? Or will it always be just individual albums?

  24. Paul Wren says:

    Well, spooky or what. I’ve been listening to “The Splendour Of Fear” on rotate for the last four days. This is the first time I’d heard Felt anywhere and what a blindingly good album it is. Gatefold reissue here I come!!

  25. Boaz Halachmi says:

    Cherry Red have all these boxes (with pictures) signed by Lawrence.

  26. Trash says:

    Kind of have to agree with the general sentiment here…
    I have the Japanese mini-sleeves (I am sure I have more than just the I’ve first albums but maybe that is my mind playing tricks – will have to check).
    I would love to have these on vinyl as I got into Felt long after any vinyls were no longer available but £25 per album (and some of them are very short indeed) is way beyond my budget. I would have loved to have seen a decently priced boxed set of albums and the 7″s though.

    Oh well, I will have to just gaze on longingly….

  27. richard brazier says:

    Wonderful albums but utterly pointless packaging along with a 7″!!?
    I had the last batch of reissues and also have the first five which were reissued in mini LP replicas in Japan (not sure why the second five never were annoyigly?)
    A nice box set would have made much more sense, with radio sessions etc but sadly i guess we are stuck with Morrissey like revisionism of all the albums from now on.

  28. Dirk says:

    Unfortunately, I have absolutely no interest in vinyl, and I can’t justify spending this much for a few remixed tracks (even though Ignite is my second-favourite Felt album). I hope Cherry Red issues a CD-only version sometime down the line. Until then, the two-fers will have to suffice for me.

    • DJ Salinger says:

      I contacted Cherry Red about this a few weeks ago. They replied that there were no plans to issue CD-only sets. So if we want these Felt reissues we have to pay for unwanted vinyl extras. And in my case unplayable vinyl extras – I haven’t owned a turntable in decades.

      I appreciate the need for a niche reissue campaign like this to wash its face financially but the trend is irritating and is actively putting me off buying stuff.

      File under: humbug.

  29. Metal Mickey says:

    To be fair, these have been available as better value “twofers” in the past, so these resissues are clearly meant to appeal to vinyl obsessives and collectors, rather than casual buyers… and to be honest, I’d have preferred they reissued the 3xCD “Felt Box”, which collected this entire period, plus extras nicely enough (and even the bonus 4th CD odds & sods would have fitted elsewhere…)

    Marvellous music though, a real one of a kind band…

  30. These are terrific albums – The Splendour of Fear and The Strange Idols… in particular are two of the best LPs of the eighties. It’s wonderful also that ‘Crucifix Heaven’ is going to be reinstated on the latter’s tracklist.

    As much as I love the often-maligned and overcooked Robin Guthrie production of the original, I’m very, very interested to hear what the remixed Ignite the Seven Cannons songs sound like, though dropping ‘Serpent Shade’ is a shame, even if I admit that the second side of the LP was a little instrumental-heavy.

    Saying that, while it’s great that these classic albums are being re-released, the strategy behind them is curious to say the least. The 7″ would have been better off being paired with the LP release, and also, by limiting themselves to the 7″ versions, exclusive 12″ B-sides like ‘Now Summer’s Spread Its Wings Again’ and particularly the extraordinary re-recording of ‘Fortune’ are getting ignored. I hope these albums get regular single disc reissues, for a) affordability’s sake and b) so that more people can listen to this terrific band!

    For those who are interested, I just wrote a heck of a lot about Felt on my blog, just click the link on my name above!

  31. Sith says:

    Good news indeed. Been waiting for these releases but I’d prefer only cd albums with cheaper prices. I am not a vinyl collector/player.

  32. Daniel says:

    I’m excited about these, and ordered 2 of them…signed by Lawrence…from the Cherry Red site!! Always loved these records!!

  33. Bobbyjean says:

    It’s great these are getting a reissue but the price is outrageous considering u could put all the songs on 2 cds .not like felt ever sold mainy records in the day .this is horrible way to treat there small cult indie fanbase.under 30 mins a vinyl for £24.99.well i wonder

  34. Rare Glam says:

    The five sets in 7″ / CD form come to much the same price as the Roxy Music SDL at the time of writing on Amazon. I have the ‘Stains On A Decade’ cd by Felt which is excellent. I am not sure I am bothered by so many short instrumentals on these reissues though and one of the CDs is only 19 minutes long? I dare say these packages will look nice enough but a CD sized boxed set of the five card sleeved CDs and a booklet a la the recent Pentangle set from Cherry Red would have been preferable – with the two tracks on the 45s added. It’s spreading too little too thinly here I think.

    Lawrence certainly could write beautiful songs, as the ‘Stains’ set proves, but I am not sure why the packaging choices for the CD sets are as they are. I guess it would maximise return on what must be a pretty niche market these days. I may be a player on these sets after more investigation but at the moment it’slooking a bit too overtly packaging style over content.

  35. Jim says:

    I’ve got the original vinyl of these and a set of the last CD reissues. But I’m going to have to buy Ignite The Seven Cannons for the remix, aren’t I (and possibly Strange Idols… to get the original cover and Crucifix Heaven on CD)?

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