Sometimes, Okay, all of the time, there's nothing better than a pop song where melody and hooks reign supreme. Dan Gillespie-Seals, the lead singer and songwriter for U.K.-based quintet The Feeling, obviously feels the same way, and they have loaded their debut CD, Twelve Stops And Home, with some of the most pleasing pop I've heard all year.
Like fellow Brits Travis, The Feeling are unabashed lovers of pretty melodies and lush harmonies that make the listener want to sing along. They also have the musical chops to couch their songs in a variety of settings, sometimes within the same song. "Never Be Lonely," a gem worthy of vintage Fleetwood Mac, rides a standard I–IV chord progression through the verse before moving into a hook filled chorus that features Gillespie isolated against Ciaran Jeremiah's keyboards. Then the harmonies come in and it all builds to soaring key change in the bridge.
Most of the lyrics are just serviceable enough to not be embarrassing, but, like a lot of great pop, they need the music and the arrangements in order to work (if you doubt me, try reading the words to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "Mr. Blue Sky" sometime). So it's a good thing that The Feeling draw upon the great names of 1970s pop throughout the CD. "Love It When You Call" or "Fill My Little World" could be lost Raspberries classics, "Helicopter" evokes Queen's "Bicycle Race," and you can hear touches of ELO and The Cars on numerous songs.
Depending on your point of view, that's either a selling point or a reason to avoid it, so you might want to give "Sewn," the opening track and lead single from Twelve Stops And Home, a listen before buying it. You can either turn on VH-1, where it's getting a lot of airplay (The Feeling are currently on the road as part of their "You Oughta Know"), or you can stream it (RealAudio, Windows Media) from their website.