Release Date: Apr 23, 2012
Record label: EMI
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Grunge
The anthemic triple whammy of Echo Park, Comfort in Sound, and Pushing the Senses saw Welsh rock stalwarts Feeder threaten to break into the big league, but 2008's distinctly average Silent Cry and 2010's rough-and-ready Renegades seemed to suggest their stadium-chasing ambitions were all but over. Their momentum now gone, eighth studio album Generation Freakshow is unlikely to restore them to their former chart glories, but it's a record that proves Grant Nicholas' ear for a rousing melody hasn't deserted him just yet. Lead single "Borders" combines Kings of Leon-style ad libs with a Killers-esque blue-collar rock chorus to produce arguably their most shoutable singalong since "Buck Rogers"; the chiming riffs, melancholic harmonies, and emotionally charged lyrics of closing number "Children of the Sun" help to provide a classic "lighters in the air" Feeder ballad; while Smashing Pumpkins fans unconvinced by their current incarnation could do worse than check out the blistering early-'90s-inspired grunge-pop of "Idaho," "Tiny Minds," and the title track, the latter of which sounds like the Daleks from Doctor Who have stumbled across a copy of Siamese Dream.
It's not big, it isn't clever, but it's sure as hell difficult to dislike Feeder. And don't let self-appointed bastions of cool tell you otherwise. After two decades of varying unfashionable-ness they're still going strong, even though core members Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose could hardly be described as spring chickens. Still, they say life begins at 40, and while not suggesting Feeder's output prior to its principal songwriting duo reaching such a milestone age was in any way inferior, they seem to have enjoyed something of a rejuvenation of late.
Perennial bridesmaids Welsh-Japanese outfit Feeder have notched up seven Top 10 albums since 1999 without ever looking like being invited to rock's top table. Their eighth studio album, and second on their own label, is another solid, if uninspiring, set, split evenly between the sort of stadium-friendly fare peddled by their peers Snow Patrol and the harder sound characterised by their earlier, grunge-lite albums. They're at their best on the rudimentary thrashing of "Headstrong" and the Oasis-influenced ballad "Children of the Sun".
Mature and considered rock from a band playing to its strengths on album eight. Al Fox 2012 Now in their astonishing 21st year as a unit, it seems Welsh/Japanese rock bastions Feeder have no intentions of reeling in their timeline anytime soon, lifting the cloche on their eighth studio album, Generation Freakshow. And although the title may conjure up images of strident, youthful upheaval, it’s something quite different in reality: it’s the sound of a band that has lived every moment of their two decades.
By now some beleaguered Feeder fans must be close to breaking point. Given a reprieve from ridicule by the trio’s last long-player ‘Renegades’ being a rocky, drop-tuned return to their Smashing Pumpkins-lite heritage, they’ve elected to follow it with what a cynical person might suggest is a simple rehash of their dynamic pop-grunge opus ‘Echo Park’. The keyboards are the same tones, the chords are similar intervals, the vocals are heartfelt without the lyrics really saying anything, and perhaps most tellingly they don’t deliver the goods on a pop hit to rival ‘Buck Rogers’.