Deeper Grooves: Great Bass Playing You May Have Missed - EPISODE 2

Deeper Grooves: Great Bass Playing You May Have Missed - EPISODE 2

The Feeling - Twelve Stops and Home (2006)

Bassist: Richard Jones



The Feeling seemed to burst onto the scene out of nowhere and let me say, to a teenage bassist like myself their debut album was a treasure trove of imaginative bass playing, pop hooks and Beatle-esque vocal arrangements - but to almost everyone else I was at school with, it was about as ‘uncool’ as you could get. With the exception of me and my close mate Anthony, everyone else was too preoccupied with the Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand and edgy pop music to take much notice of Twelve Stops and Home. Mp3 players were all the rage and so very few of my musical mates were interested in a full album of anything and if they were, it was probably Metallica or Greenday who are great, but for me lacking a certain British melodic charm.

I revisited this album again recently after frequently having the desire to play it and what really struck me was the plethora of styles, sounds and musical ideas that this album seems to have in abundance. Now before we get to it, let me make it clear that this album was no flop. It reached #2 on the UK charts and the singles were inescapable for months due to what felt like excessive radio play (yeah, we were still listening to the radio in 2006!). But, for our low-end friends, here’s what you may have missed from bassist Richard Jones…

I Want You Now

The song opens with a fuzzy major pentatonic line that transforms into an effective ‘A’ pedal point root under the rest of the band’s F major, D major and E major triads. The pre-chorus section features Jones’ bass tone cleaned up to provide some chord-scale material before the chorus thumps through the roots and inversions in a Status Quo-type fashion.


Never Be Lonely

One of the big singles from the album, this song’s groove rests almost entirely on Jones’ syncopated ostinato pedal riff. For the pre-chorus, like the previous track, he uses the root on the strong beats of the bar before filling in the gaps with short flurries of scale-tone runs to propel the groove ahead. The bars preceding the guitar solo get quite creative harmonically and Jones navigates the changes with nothing short of Jamerson-like aplomb.


Fill My Little World

Another huge single for the band, this one motors along in a typical quaver fashion but Jones adds little syncopated skips along with the guitar to keep a listener on their toes. He hits several chord changes in the bridge with non-root chord tones giving the fairly standard chord sequence some sophisticated voice leading.


Kettle’s On

There’s a big fat groove from Jones here - a repeating one bar semiquaver phrase that sits beneath the C major-F minor chords. There’s some subtle pushes in the chorus (just after the one minute mark) and there’s some tasty reggae-style triplets added to the main groove before the second chorus. The final chorus strips some quavers away to make more room and add some half-time feel.


Sewn

A change of pace to a funky pop ballad here - swung semiquavers in the bassline add a swagger to the track that is made even classier by Jones’ slides into the upper register during the choruses.


Anyone

Again featuring a staple of Jones’ bass playing, what could have have been a simple root note groove is morphed into scale based material but using a complete varying of rhythm. HIs playing in the second verse is a masterclass in gap-filling and knowing when to leave space. The final chorus is chock full of licks, runs and double stops that could have been played by John Paul Jones.


Strange

Another half-time groove with Jones providing some of his tightest playing on the record. His driving 16th notes seem to give the rest of the band more room than you would expect - perhaps due to the bass being quite low in the mix compared to other cuts on the disc. To my ears, it sounds like some kind of Gibson bass through a Sans Amp preamp but who knows?


Love It When You Call

By far the catchiest tune on the album was released as a single. It was a huge hit in the UK and featured Jones in his most supportive role so far. Anything more from him here would have stolen the hook lovingly given to us by the inversion-heavy chord-based riff.


Rosé

The last single to be released from the album, this 6/8 ballad features no real fireworks from Jones but instead, an understated pulsing line that hits every quaver in the measure. The rhythm gets broken up in the bridge, allowing some light fills to pop out - occasionally in unison with the guitar.


Same Old Stuff

When Jones enters on the 2nd half of the first chorus, he sets up the most obscure pedal point we’ve heard on the record. He plays a simple ostinato figure using a low G and its octave over not only a G chord, but A major and A-flat major too. He returns to his signature style in the verses and provides some pretty little connecting material between chord changes. The bridge mix exposes the bass a little more and we hear some exquisitely laid back playing and a chromatic semiquaver triplet run in unison with the drums. There’s a definite McCartney influence heard throughout his playing on this cut.


Helicopter

It’s amazing how leaving the first beat off of the bassline in places can create such a sense of exciting instability and here is a perfect example. Although harmonically quite abstract (in pop music terms), Jones leaves much of the work to the piano until the back end of the track when he launches into a ferocious unison riff with guitarist Kevin Jeremiah that transforms into a heavy accompaniment to an improvised lead guitar break.


Blue Piccadilly/Miss You

Segued nicely from the previous track, this waltz makes great use of the bass and guitar as a team playing a carefully arranged accompanying role - the standout moment being the descending triplet figure just before the 3 minute mark. As was the fashion at the time, bonus tracks were often ‘hidden’ on the same track as the last listed song so that only those who let the CD play out fully would know it was there. Miss You is a sweet ballad and doesn’t feature any of Jones’ playing but does feature him as part of the vocal arrangement.


If you haven’t heard the album before, you’d be doing yourself a favour by listening. For me, it’s an album with a positive sound and composition that was rarely found in the pop music of the time. If you have heard it before, revisit it - you’ll be pleased you did. Buy it here.


https://www.thefeeling.com/


Can you think of an album that deserves a spot in this series? Let me know!

Greg

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