Essential New Music: Felt’s “A Decade In Music” And Go-Kart Mozart’s “Mozart’s Mini-Mart”

Felt was one of Britain’s best indie bands of the 1980s that never quite got its due in the States. Historically minded fans of early Belle And Sebastian, the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart or, especially, the Clientele should dive deeply into Cherry Red’s reissues of the first five albums (1982’s Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty, 1984’s The Splendour Of Fear and The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories, 1985’s Ignite The Seven Cannons and 1986’s Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Heads To Death), each with a bonus seven-inch and other ephemera with the CD versions. (The other half of the band’s symmetrical discography will follow.) They’re essential. Longtime fans will find album number five retitled (jaunty, brief instrumental Let The Snakes Crinkle is now The Seventeenth Century) and number four drastically remixed (six tracks of Ignite have been stripped of Robin Guthrie’s dream-pop production effects, although thankfully “Primitive Painters,” the classic duet with Guthrie’s Cocteau Twins bandmate Elizabeth Fraser, remains untouched).

Lawrence, Felt’s deep-voiced auteur, went on to form hilarious glam-rock spoof Denim and still releases music as Go-Kart Mozart. Mozart’s Mini-Mart is full of short, witty synth-pop songs such as “When You’re Depressed.” Think Magnetic Fields at their most ephemeral.

—Steve Klinge