The Feelies

Time for a Witness

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In many respects, 1991's Time for a Witness was the weakest of the four albums the Feelies released between 1980 and 1991. Much of the album was written at a time when the band was fatigued from touring behind 1988's Only Life. In addition, the strongest supporters at their label, A&M Records, had moved on from the company. As a consequence, Time for a Witness is short on memorable songs, and the lyrics sometimes betray a certain resignation about the group's future. Despite this, Time for a Witness is also one of the group's hardest-rocking efforts. The Feelies were well rehearsed and ready to play for these sessions, and the bulk of the material was cut live in the studio, with minimal edits and overdubs. Thanks to this, the best cuts capture the band's frenetic post-Velvets groove with a joyous fury they rarely matched. The choice of the Stooges' "Real Cool Time" as a closer was apt. Time for a Witness captures the Feelies rising into the suburban New Jersey variation of the Stooges' cosmic unconsciousness better than anything since their debut, 1980's Crazy Rhythms. The kinetic force of "Sooner or Later," "Waiting," and the title song is raw and joyous. "What She Said" is a fine country-accented rocker, and "Find a Way" and "For Now" prove even the relatively quiet numbers are well focused and impassioned. Ensemble playing was always vital to the Feelies, and Time for a Witness is a superb document of the musicians' interaction. On Time for a Witness, what the Feelies say isn't as important as how they say it. Their sonic articulation here is outstanding, even when the songs are below their average. The Feelies broke up months after this LP was released. Despite its flaws, Time for a Witness shows they bowed out in proud form.

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