Strange little guitar albums have their charms and this outpouring of hope from Feelies man Glenn Mercer is no exception. Intent on evoking a particular atmospheres and locations via these compositions Mercer runs the gamut from hallucinatory spaghetti western music to space age bachelor pad licks before touching on three imaginative covers of the familiar (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “Third Stone From the Sun”) and the less (Brian Eno’s “Here Comes the Warm Jets”). If at times this record feels like an audition tape for movie scoring gigs, then so be it.
Glenn Mercer — Incidental Hum (Bar/None)Glenn Mercer has been releasing music since the 1970s, with the Feelies and other bands, but this is only his second solo album. Unlike 2007’s Wheels in Motion, which was virtually indistinguishable from mid-period Feelies (not a bad thing, BTW), Incidental Hum is all instrumentals, with Mercer playing everything — guitar, organ, bass, drum machine and assorted percussion. The lack of vocals frees him to try lots of ideas outside his signature sound.
Call this chill-out music for frazzled souls. Glenn Mercer is the cofounder of New Jersey avant-pop band the Feelies; this, his second solo album, is a diverse instrumental set that combines Brian Eno’s ambient feel with light-to-medium rock edges and twangy nods to spaghetti western films. It’s done with consummate skill; Mercer plays all of the instruments (guitar treatments, drums, synths, bass, flute).
Since the Feelies rarely tour and don’t give extensive interviews detailing their lives outside the band, we’ve always wondered what bandleader Glenn Mercer does on his days off. Incidental Hum may be the answer. A collection of home-recorded instrumentals, the record finds the Feelies singer/guitarist at his most relaxed and playful, unmindful of the jangle rock sound for which he’s best known and exploring his options.