Ignite the Seven Cannons (2018 Rerelease)

Review by Martin Estrada

With the early months of 2018 come political scandals, geopolitical instability, and of the most
interest to music enthusiasts, the reissuing of Felt’s first five albums, the fourth of which is
1985’s Ignite the Seven Cannons . After almost three decades since Felt broke up, enigmatic
and mononymous frontman Lawrence has returned with a new and remixed version of the
album that has been regarded as one of their best, containing their most well known song,
“Primitive Painters” featuring swirling guest vocals from Cocteau Twins Elizabeth Fraser. On the
original release, this is augmented by the production work of Robin Guthrie also of the Cocteau
Twins. This evokes the dreamlike qualities of 1984’s Treasure , while retaining a distinctly Felt
sound.
The newly remixed version of Ignite the Seven Cannons revisits the album with an approach
that for lack of better words would be considered more “indie”, being more similar in character to
Felt’s previous release, The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories. This reimagining of
the Ignite, while subtle, brings forward elements of the music that had been lost in Guthrie’s
dreamy but according to Lawrence, amature production. A comparison of the two shows the
release to be auraly much better defined. For example On Guthrie’s mix of “My Darkest Light
Will Shine”, the organ played by Martin Duffy is very prominent, easily overpowering the guitar
of Maurice Deebank and bass of Marco Thomas and arguably even Lawrence’s vocals. The
remix allows the instruments to work more cohesively which on this album is particularly
essential as it was the last to feature guitar virtuoso Deebank and the first to feature the then 16
year old Duffy who went on to achieve greater fame as a member of Primal Scream in the 90’s.
Also notable on the reissue is the omission of “Serpent Shade” which makes for a more
balanced second half. High points of the original such as “Primitive Painters” and “Elegance of
and Only Dream” are preserved in their original splendour meaning that longtime Felt listeners
need not to worry about losing the album they have loved for perhaps 30 years. The reissue of
Ignite the Seven Cannons takes an album that was already a pleasure to hear and only adds to
it, turning a great relic of the 80’s into a timeless album.
4.5/5

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