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Music / Felt

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"I was a moment that quickly passed."
—Lawrence's epitaph, from the song "Black Ship in the Harbour"

Felt were an Indie band that formed in Birmingham, England consisting of singer/songwriter Lawrence (no surname) alongside a ever-changing line-up. Heavily inspired by The Velvet Underground and Television, the band released ten albums and ten singles in total before disbanding in 1989, a move which Lawrence had planned in advance as the group were getting started.

Felt debuted in 1979 with the single 'Index', essentially a Lawrence solo offering. The band formed properly a year after and expanded to include guitarist Maurice Deebank - whose atmospheric, classically trained playing served as a foil to Lawrence's deadpan vocals and often oblique poetry, and the duo's chemistry defined the first half of Felt's career - and drummer Gary Ainge who managed to stay with the group up until the end. Following Deebank's departure in 1985, keyboardist Martin Duffy stepped up to the fore with his melodic hammond organ arrangements, resulting in the band's sound gradually became less insular and more open and elaborate.

Outside of a minor hit with "Primitive Painters" (a collaboration with Cocteau Twins), Felt struggled to find much success throughout their existence, in part due to the often baffling creative and finanical decisions made by Lawrence. Overtime however, their cult status and influence on subsequent bands has flourished (Jarvis Cocker, The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers, Saint Etienne and Belle and Sebastian are noted fans/admirers), and have been reevaluated as amongst the finest groups of their era.

In the years following Felt's breakup, Lawrence resurfaced in The '90s as frontman of Glam Rock/bubblegum revivalists Denim, who missed out on the Britpop train by roughly a year, and as of late creates 'novelty' Synth-Pop under Go-Kart Mozart and Mozart Estate. As with Felt, these projects have found more favour with people who review albums than those who actually buy them, and have endured years of Development Hell, caused by Lawrence's rampant perfectionism and near-poverty status. In 2011, Lawrence became the subject of an acclaimed documentary Lawrence of Belgravia. Meanwhile, Martin Duffy went on to play with Primal Scream for many years until his untimely passing from a downstairs fall in 2022.

In 2018, Felt's label Cherry Red launched A Decade in Music, a remastering campaign of the entire Felt catalog, with all their albums available on vinyl for the first time since their original release (albeit with some major changes to production and tracklistings).


  • 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, re-named The Seventeenth Century for the 2018 remaster)
  • Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986)
  • Poem of the River (1987)
  • The Pictoral Jackson Review (1988)
  • Train Above the City (1988)
  • Me and a Monkey On the Moon (1989)

Forever breathes the lonely tropes:

  • The Comically Serious: Lawrence played this trope in spades. In fact, he went through great lengths to make sure none of the other bandmembers ever smiled in press photos or concerts. When he was asked whether a sense of humour was important in music, he answered with a dry "No".
  • Crazy-Prepared: It was Lawrence who envisioned Felt to exist for ten years and release ten albums, all the way back in 1980. He also anticipated that their music would be more appreciated by future musicians long after they had split.
  • Echoing Acoustics: Featured throughout Ignite the Seven Cannons, having being produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins. Lawrence has never been particularly happy with the overdubbed sound and so a more stripped back remix of the album was issued in 2018.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Stagnant Pool" and "Riding on the Equator" are both 8 and 9 minutes long respectively, with most of the running time filled by extended guitar solos.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Lawrence does this quite frequently in his lyrics, especially in "Dismantled King is off The Throne" and "Ballad of the Band".
  • Indie Pop: Alongside Orange Juice, Felt's music helped lay the groundwork for the genre.
  • Instrumentals: Very frequent during the Deebank years. Let the Snakes Crinkle their Heads to Death, Train Above the City, and about two-thirds of The Splendour of Fear and The Pictorial Jackson Review consist entirely of these.
  • Miniscule Rocking: All of their albums tend to be no more than half an hour long. Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death consists of ten instrumentals which come to a running time of 18 minutes.
  • Never Bareheaded: Lawrence is almost always never seen bareheaded.
  • The Perfectionist: Lawrence is a notorious example, and is responsible for the strong aesthetic approach to their music and image. Case in point, he often dismissed bandmembers due to the way their hair looked.
  • Religion Rant Song: "All the People I Like are Those that are Dead".
    I've been around this town and I've seen what God has done
    Yeah I've been around and it's no fun
    And I've been a two-time tearaway and God has told me so
    But I don't believe in him you know
    Don't make me a martyr for our causes
    Cause I don't believe a word that you said
    All the people I like are those are dead
  • Shout-Out: The original film poster of Chelsea Girls by Andy Warhol is featured on the cover of The Splendour of Fear.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Ballad of the Band" is one directed at Maurice Deebank and his apparent lack of commitment to the band.
  • Teen Genius: Keyboard player Martin Duffy was 16 years old when he joined Felt in 1985, and is considered one of the group's finest musicians.