Ignite the Seven Cannons

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On Ignite the Seven Cannons, Felt brings in Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie to produce. While Guthrie brings along bandmate Elizabeth Fraser to add her typically ethereal vocals to "Primitive Painters" -- earning Felt a minor U.K. hit -- the collaboration doesn't work as well as one would hope. John Leckie's clear, simple production on the group's previous album, The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories, highlighted the shimmering guitar work and infused the album with odd yet breathtaking beauty. However, the guitars are deeper in the mix here, at times buried beneath Guthrie's atmospheric production and the addition of keyboardist Martin Duffy (later of Primal Scream). Lawrence Hayward has noted that this album sounds different than other Felt albums because Guthrie simply did what he did with the Cocteau Twins. And, while there is a new urgency to Hayward's singing -- bringing him even closer to the anti-vocals of his hero Tom Verlaine -- and some gorgeous guitar moments from the classically trained Maurice Deebank, this album falls short of the high-water mark set by the group's previous effort.

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