Album Review: The Real Feel - Spiral Stairs

If BlackPlastic could do one thing to make the world a slightly better place it would make it illegal for smug bankers to use their BlackBerry on the train for anything other than calling the wife or accessing porn. Presented with countless opportunities however, an endless magic lamp if you will, then just one thing BlackPlastic would do is hide this début solo offering from Pavement's wayward Spiral Stairs inside the case for every single copy of the Arctic Monkeys last album.

Because whilst, predictably, this isn't a patch on any of Pavement's output, it does achieve a bluesy, melancholic, whisky-soaked sound that feels like the kind of album the Monkeys thought they we making.

The Real Feel is a slow and thoughtful album that shines due to it's space and timing. Opener 'True Love' may feel a bit too formulaic (if at least authentic) but there is much more elsewhere - 'Call The Ceasefire' is morose, wounded and self-pitying yet compellingly so. 'Cold Change' manages to convey a nervous optimism in its join-in "bup-bup-bup-bup-bup-ba-ba" chorus, like the audio equivalent of dusting yourself off after a fall that only one other person saw. Forthcoming single 'Stole Pills' changes things up nicely mid-album with a flick-knife jangly punk vibe.

But The Real Feel hasn't really got any new ideas. And that isn't necessarily a criticism, yet more of an observation. There are moments of delicacy here delivered in such a gimmick-free fashion that the fact that you may as well have heard it all before feels unimportant. It's not the slacker-gold soundz of Pavement, but it's not bad.

The Real Feel is out now on Domino, available on CD from [affiliate link].

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