Review Summary: Feeder get back on track with an album that certainly isn't surprising, but is still enjoyable.
It can sometimes be hard to put your finger on where Feeder stand in the world of rock. Their albums have been banded amongst the grunge, britrock, pop-rock, soft-rock, or even just pop artists that have been around over the last 17 years. The band themselves have been one of the biggest in the UK at the turn of the century, to being almost forgotten about ten years later, with songs now getting very little airplay, especially when put in contrast to their earlier hits like 'Buck Rogers' and 'Just The Way I'm Feeling'.
The collapse of the Echo label shortly after the release of 2006's Silent Cry pushed Feeder deeper into the music shadows than they were when they were an emerging band, much lauded by the then-respectable likes of Kerrang! and others. After kick-starting their own Big Teeth Records label, the band felt they could attempt to start once again from the bottom up, and released Renegades to the public. Unfortunately, Renegades' attempts to win back some old-school Feeder fans were unsuccessful, due to the album's shallow, unrewarding feel and poor production coupled with some lame songs. It wasn't so much of a reboot as it was a last-gasp attempt to harken back to the glory days before fading away. If anything, the album should have been the band's death knell.
However, although the band had originally planned to release a second album in the same year as Renegades, they changed their minds and put more thought and time into the songs, and have come back better for it, with an album that brings hope back to the dearest, most die-hard Feeder fans. Feeder have never been a band to wow audiences with songs of blistering musicianship or soul-wrenching emotion, but instead they are a band who fit that niche of having some bloody good anthems. The kind of anthem where you don't care what they're singing about or trying to invoke, you just enjoy it and sing along, and Generation Freakshow
solidifies that notion. It's forty-five minutes of simple, enjoyable rock music. It doesn't pull the wool over your eyes and try to convince you otherwise. What this album is, is Feeder acknowledging once again what they are best at, and doing a damn good job of showing us what it is.
The album is consistent enough, however some songs just seem to pass by without leaving any sort of stamp on the album. Opener Oh My
could well be the weakest song on the album, having no memorable moment whatsoever. Things improve over the course of the album's first half, though, with Idaho
sure to be concert staples for a while to come. The first half of the album climaxes with the song Sunrise
, a grooving number that has the benefit of great juxtaposition on the album; coming after the mellow, dreamy (and aptly-named) Quiet
, it seems to be a giant lift, and also a nice warm-up before the energetic call to arms of the title track.
Those who know of Feeder's music may think that their rock days are behind them, and that they are now only capable of writing brooding balladry lest they fall flat trying to do otherwise a la Renegades, should be pleasantly surprised with this album. If Renegades was necessary in any way, it was to get everything out of Grant Nicholas' system, and to remind him to just have fun making music. Generation Freakshow is the result, and as you sing along to Headstrong
as if it was 'Just A Day' all over again, you remember why you enjoyed listening to Feeder. Take it for what it is, and enjoy Feeders best album in a decade.