Underworld, London, UK - 21/5
Written by: PP on 02/10/2012 06:28:09
So I'll be honest here. I haven't listened to Feeder since "Echo Park" was released back in 2001, which was of course the album with the epic power pop song "Seven Days In The Sun" as its lead single. This despite Feeder being one of the biggest alternative rock bands that the UK has had to offer over the last decade or so, having released four records since then and before "Generation Freakshow", their eighth album overall. They haven't exactly been flying underneath my radar, but rather my expectation has always been that they've spent the better part of the decade writing boring dime-a-dozen pop rock songs that deserve no further investigation.
Well, if "Generation Freakshow" is anything to go by, I may have made a mistake of epic proportions. I simply cannot believe how good Feeder sound in 2012 especially considering how many of their contemporaries have faded away into obscurity or are mere shadows of their original selves (Lit, I'm looking at you). It's one of the most varied alternative rock records I've heard lately with plenty of different styles and approaches to the same genre, with each style working equally well whether a ballad, soft song, or an uptempo track that surprises with its energy. The first half of the record, for instance, relies on fairly standard softened alternative rock, though already here singer Grant Nicholas' voice makes such a huge difference that the songs stand far above what is considered the standard in this genre. But where the band really strikes through to its listener is on the catchy rocker "Idaho", which has fairly stupid lyrics but you'll be singing along in no time, and on the title track which brings back some of those crunchy alt rock guitars from the "Seven Days..." era as we remember them. Further, when the band ups the tempo to almost pop punk levels on "In All Honesty" and The Hives style garage rock on "Headstrong", well, these are hands down some of the best alternative rock songs you'll come to hear in 2012.
Throughout the record a sense of positivity and optimism is carried through a sound that's not exactly bright, but is uplifting anyway. It's the red thread that keeps the album together (well, that and Nicholas' vocals) despite the variety of styles being applied to the standard alternative rock formula. But perhaps formula is the wrong word to use here, because despite Feeder's reputation for not exactly innovating with their sound (or so I read in my research), the songs never feel boring and formulaic, which is an enormous problem for most mainstream bands. Instead, they sound fresh, lively, and like songs that have plenty of repeat play value over time. So if you're at all like me and have been ignoring Feeder with the preconception that they can't possibly be good, do yourself a favor and check out "Generation Freakshow". It could be that you'll be as surprised as I was, and still am.
Download: In All Honesty, Headstrong, Generation Freakshow, Oh My, Borders
For the fans of: Ash, Idlewild, Stereophonics, Hundred Reasons, Lit
Release date 23.04.2012
Big Teeth Music