A new Feelies record has no right to sound this good (it's not really a comeback album - that would be 2011's Here Before, which arrived twenty years after its predecessor). Still, you shouldn't come to In Between expecting innovation, or even excitement per se, but anyone down for purest downbeat rock'n'roll minimalism will not be disappointed - or perhaps your whole life is disappointment and you won't register the difference.
No, this isn't going to convert anyone new to the band. The opening title track - its intro surely a wry nod to the opening bars of Crazy Rhythms - seems at first breathtakingly arrogant in its two-chord simplicity, and announces right from the off that the amped-up, high-velocity guitar duelling of their first and still best-loved LP is a distant memory (the only reprisal of that spirit comes on the perhaps aptly named 'Gone, Gone, Gone').
This record has more in common with 1986's pared-down but prickly The Good Life, with acoustic guitars - albeit with that quintessential Feelies chiming interplay intact - and slower tempos favoured. But the laser-focus and intensity of the thing is a wonder to behold: Glenn Mercer and Bill Million wring incredible pathos and meaning from the most seemingly pedestrian of phrasings and chord shifts, and leave bags of space for your most bittersweet memories to manifest. Songs like 'Make It Clear' and 'When To Go' will haunt you for days. They're written performed, performed and recorded by a band who know absolutely what is necessary and what is dispensable - know better than you and I, in fact. There is nothing extraneous, not a breath or a note that doesn't serve the central message, which is what? Wisdom is scant consolation for getting old.
This came out in February but it's taken this long to reach us and who gives a fuck. Dare I say... flawless masterpiece?