It's second-album time for The Feeling. Over the past two years, the band have made breezy, happy, shiny, early Eighties-style pop ubiquitous again, and become something of a consensus act for teenage girls. That Mika and The Hoosiers have followed in their slipstream probably indicates that Dan Gillespie Sells and his four band mates had their finger on the pulse of popular culture. To the iPod generation, everything, be it Fleetwood Mac or Glen Campbell, is ripe for recycling.
The Feeling, who take their name from a Paris bar, had something of a head start, since they honed their craft playing Supertramp and Bangles covers to the après-ski crowd in the Alps. They're a tight outfit, even at their first gig proper since last July, and the one to launch Join With Us, an album that doesn't deviate from the winning formula of their debut.
They make a grand entrance, with the drummer, Paul Stewart, and the others joining the electro-throb-meets-Abba of "I Thought It Was Over". The catchy "Fill My Little World" follows, and sets the pattern for the next hour, as they alternate between the radio-friendly "Never Be Lonely" and "Sewn" and half a dozen new tracks. Best is the central section, with Sells coming over lovelorn on the power ballad "Spare Me", while the guitarist Kevin Jeremiah and his keyboard-playing brother, Ciaran, do Beach Boys harmonies. "Without You" is better, using just enough cheesy synth to show that they know Wings' "Band On the Run", but building to a gorgeous chorus.
"Turn It Up" contains the hilarious "it's a rock'n'roll disaster" line, rhymes paper with escalator, and tries hard to conjure up the stacked vocals and bendy- guitar-solo magic of Queen, but Sells is no Freddie Mercury. With a soupçon of a 'tache and wearing a frilly white shirt, he is a gauche front-man, often pointing a finger and windmilling on the guitar. Climbing on to the drum roster is about as rock as it gets. If his keening voice has a certain charm, Sells speaks like Frank Spencer, though he gamely pinches his nose at just the right moment during an encore of Buggles' '"Video Killed the Radio Star". The Feeling's boys-next-door niceness will carry them a long way.
The Feeling tour the UK from 7 March (www.thefeeling.com)