The Real Feel - Spiral Stairs
Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Pavement fans expecting similar lo-fi experimentation may be disappointed with The Real Feel, but anyone who appreciates organically structured rock songs should love this album.
  2. It’s also one of the best-sounding records of 2009, with a simple, clean style and plenty of piano, banjo, and pedal steel to flesh out the dynamics.
  3. No surprises here, but it’s hard to fault Kannberg’s strongest solo album yet.
  4. There is not much on The Real Feel that is daring or new in terms of musical explorations, but the emotionally energetic vocals and intestinal fortitude of the lyrics coupled with the honesty and the understated transcendence of the songs is quite alluring.
  5. 60
    Here, Scott 'Spiral Stairs' Kannberg's music feels more direct and unguarded than might have been expected given the more crafted, at time arch, music that has hallmarked his two groups. [Dec 2009, p. 90]
  6. 60
    The result is a record that contains the cryptic hooks of Pavement's later work, with a pleasingly breezy '70s AOR feel. [Nov 2009, p.104]
  7. Spiral Stairs remains a pleasing, if not especially exciting, singer/songwriter and Real Feel showcases both of these sides effectively, rambling on nicely as it strolls through its songs, but never quite getting into any interesting territory.
  8. 60
    For the first solo album under his nom de tune, Scott Kannberg eschews the catchy cacophony of his earlier bands--Pavement and Preston School of Industry--for breezily quirky '70s country-pop and late-'60s psychedelia that's two parts Lindsey Buckingham and one part Roky Erickson.
  9. The Real Feel is a solid step in the right direction, both sonically and lyrically.
  10. The music is a clear step up from his nadir on Monsoon, but it's only a lateral move in terms of quality compared to the first two Preston School releases.
  11. On The Real Feel it seems that he’s buckled slightly under the pressure of having his own full length, with his own space to breathe and experiment, and has instead decided to play it straight down the line.
  12. As Malkmus and Kannberg each find out what kind of musician each one is, the end result is less interesting than when they were in the process of discovering that and were having fun trying out different ideas and really discovering new things together.
  13. The Real Feel really feels stilted overall. There are pretty moments, but little that’s electrifying.
  14. The Pavement member released two full-lengths with Preston School Of Industry earlier this decade, during a relative lull in Pavement-mania; both essentially defined “workmanlike,” and sadly, The Real Feel is no different.
  15. Sadly, anybody hoping for Pavement's off-kilter melody and cryptic lyrics will be disappointed. [Dec 2009, p. 126]

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