Feeder – Generation Freakshow (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE eighth album from Feeder is described as an amalgamation of the best bits of the band, drawing from metal, grunge, punk and classic rock to create a sound that’s also distinctly their own.
It’s 12 tracks of rip-roaring anthems that seem to have been crafted with stadium filling escapades in mind with the odd ballad thrown in for good measure.
The template was set with former lead single, Borders, which remains an album highlight courtesy of its familiar but welcome ‘woo-hoo’ backdrop, some meaty guitars and a passionate, stadium-sized chorus.
But the classic rock sound is evident on quality album opener Oh My, which has a distinct Tom Petty (Into The Great Wide Open) vibe about it, both thematically and instrumentally. Grant Nicholas’ vocals also have a more earthy, lived in quality about them, which seems appropriate given the band are now entering their 21st year!
Idaho opens amid some crunching, grunge-style guitar riffs (that recall Nirvana at times) before settling into a more melodic refrain and delivering another of the album’s notable choruses (“here I go, let it roll, I’m heading back to Idaho, all the way to the USA, I’ve thought about you every single second since I’ve got home”).
Quiet, conversely, lives up to its genteel name by slowing down the tempo and delivering the kind of mid-paced ballad that Feeder have also been able to specialise in during their distinguished career. It’s then that Nicholas’ vocals find a softer, warmer tone that does justice to the heartfelt sentiments contained within the lyrics.
Sunrise picks up the tempo almost immediately, though, with a buoyant crowd-pleaser that combines melodic rock with borderline pop tendencies (and some classic riffs), while Generation Freakshow delivers more sky-scraping riffs (reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins’ angular style at times) with a chant-along chorus that dips into punk territory.
Tiny Minds maintains the hard-hitting guitar sound early on, before pulling back slightly during the verse and dropping in an almost haunted, angsty vocal from Nicholas as he reflects on a frustrated love affair. It works far better than some of the more sappy angst-ridden pop ballads that reflect on the same kind of themes.
In All Honesty dazzles with a classic rock, no holds barred kind of delivery, as does the equally foot-to-the-floor Headstrong (a nod to their early days as well as their passion for metal), while Fools Can’t Sleep drops in a folk-rock slant to further expand the sound range of the LP and underline the band’s diversity.
Children of the Sun then draws things to an extremely satisfying climax with another slow-building epic that comes complete with embrace-worthy sentiments for the fans to get behind.
Sceptics may argue that Feeder rely on tried and tested formulas and that Generation Freakshow isn’t offering too much of a stretch. But while that may be true to a certain degree, there’s also no denying that they do what they do with considerable aplomb and when they get things right, there are few better bands in Britain right now. Generation Freakshow offers further compelling proof of that.
Download picks: Oh My, Borders, Idaho, Quiet, Generation Freakshow, Sunrise, In All Honesty, Children of the Sun