This week marks the Cherry Red release of the second and final half of the Felt discography reissue campaign, one that focuses roughly on their era at Creation Records. Although the group had always released singles, the switching of labels found them starting to focus on the 12 inch EP format. For the purposes of the deluxe CD/7 inch single box set, Lawrence elected to stick to the singles as they were originally released in 7″ format. Thus, some songs have been omitted, and while omissions might seem to reflect a lack of quality, that is most certainly not the case here. While the label has informed me there are no current plans for a remastered singles compilation, this week I want to highlight those fantastic b-sides, because I truly believe they deserve to be heard.
One of the appealing things about b-sides is that often they offer up hidden treasures and rare jewels of sonic delight. Such is the case with this absolutely stunning instrumental, “Candles In A Church.” Which appeared on their underrated (and downright blunt) EP Ballad Of The Band. The lead song is a very angry song directed at a former bandmate (speculation has always been that it is about Maurice Deebank, the brilliant founding guitarist who left the group around this time), but this five minute number stands in stark contrast to that bitter pill. From the sounds of it, “Candles In A Church” is simply keyboard player Martin Duffy and producer Robin Guthrie, alone in the studio. The production is clearly Guthrie’s, as it wonderfully recalls Victorialand, the stripped-down acoustic masterpiece his main band Cocteau Twins released that year, as well as his production work with Harold Budd. It doesn’t sound much like the Felt that preceded it, yet Duffy taking control of the material would soon, for better or worse, define the last half of Felt’s history. Still, this is five minutes of stunning angelic bliss, and if there was any question of Duffy’s talents and abilities, this song sure put paid to those concerns.