The Feedback File – Still Revolving

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

If like me, you become slightly irritated when you come across cards stuffed in independent record shop CD browsers with tempting messages like ‘if you like Nick Drake, you’ll love this’, then forgive me, but allow me to scribble that message right here.  It’s not the introspective lyricism of the Tanworth-in-Arden Bard, nor is it the complex guitar tunings found on three and a half albums worth of songs from the early 1970s that The Feedback File attempts to imitate here; it’s more the ethereal essence of Drake.  At times Tom Linneen’s voice touches upon the breathy grace of Drake, and John Almond’s guitar sound is just as crisp, but really it’s the arrangements that appear to make no attempt in hiding that specific influence.  “Set to Crazy” is probably the closest this outfit get to Bryter Layter period Drake, especially in the orchestral arrangements that infiltrate the song half way through.  This is all okay with me for I feel that when we lose our Drakes and Martyns we are left with a void that ought to be filled.  Despite this, I want to shrug off that influence in order to listen to John and Tom’s venture unhindered by this constant comparison to an artist who left the world three and a half decades ago and one who left us more recently and whose legacy is even more poignant.  The Feedback File was without doubt born out of a mutual understanding of the music from this period and chasing down these particular ghosts has proved to be a worthy cause.  Still Revolving was produced in collaboration with Nigel Penny-Lanyi, who also provided a variety of instruments including some guitar and pedal steel as well as mellotron and piano and original Blue Aeroplanes member Richard Bell was on hand to provide guitar and bass parts despite being remotely positioned in Australia, proving once again that if you do take advantage of our burgeoning technological age, you can succeed in making good music from afar.  A bit tricky when it comes to live appearances granted.  Fink’s drummer Tim Thornton kept the beat throughout and on one track, the instrumental “Star Song”, the late Ian Nelson provided a tenor sax solo just as he had done for his brother Bill on Be Bop Deluxe’s memorable “Ships in the Night” back in 1976.   There’s a melancholy feel to the album but it’s strangely uplifting at the same time, another similarity I suppose to Drake’s difficult second.  Referencing both Drake and Tim Buckley as well as a nod to “Saturday Sun”, “Not Breaking Down Doors” is one of those songs that you feel you’ve known all your life before you’ve given it a first run through and together with the other ten songs on the album, it joins a body of work that is distinctly English and serves as a reflection of a bygone age.