Feeder return to the mainstream with a vengeance in new album Generation Freakshow. Following the Renegades ‘experiment’, which ended with the Feeder album of the same name, fans were yearning for a return of the pop rock anthems of ‘Just the Way I’m Feeling’ and ‘Buck Rogers’. The three-piece have delivered that 100% with twelve infectious slices of pop mastery.
While the days of pop chart domination may be behind them, Feeder have always remained consistent, while still keeping room to try something different. This latest effort is no exception, with a trumpet making an appearance in ‘In All Honesty’, which throws in an incredibly subtle slant to the mix in what is one of the most upbeat songs on the record.
Leading man Grant’s singing-with-himself style is in abundance here, but it never seems unwelcome. On a song like ‘Tiny Minds’ it even adds something in itself by suggesting multiple smaller Grants to be the minds suggested by the title.
Singles ‘Borders’ and ‘Children of the Sun’ are prime examples of what Feeder does best. The first is a punchy anthem complete with all of Feeder’s trademarks. There is delayed vocals and ‘woo’-ing from Grant, as well as a fringe of keyboard and soft distortion on guitars in the verse. The song tells a story of Jessie, a girl who wants to get away and escape from a life, something which everyone can relate to at one time or another. The ideas are simple, but effective, with the inherent catchy-ness we have come to expect from the band over the past 20 years.
The second is a sombre closing number which could well be about the band itself, holding on through the years and through the changes and challenges they have all faced together – especially in the face of the freakshow obsessed generation which the album’s title alludes to.
The album hangs together beautifully, with each song returning to its central themes of feeling like an outcast, or an outsider, and not understanding the whims of modern society. The titular track ‘Generation Freakshow’ epitomises this, continuing Feeder tradition of the album title track being one of the strongest on the album. The song is gritty and less produced than the other songs, coming off as more of a pop/punk tune, rebellious and full of attitude, but still fitting in effortlessly with the rest of the album.
This record sums up everything Feeder are as a band in 2012. A group with a wealth of experience, but still outsiders in the charts compared to the likes of Muse and Coldplay. Crucially though, the band don’t mind that.
They are making music for the love, and after seven varyingly successful studio albums, their eighth is still up there as one of the best of their career. It might not be the height of innovation, but is a clear example of a band playing to its strengths.
Grant said that those who enjoyed Yesterday Went Too Soon and Comfort in Sound would enjoy this album, and it pitches between the two of them perfectly. While it might not propel them into the top ten, it deserves to keep them around for years to come.
James Michael Parry
Pictures courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/feederweb