Since Polythene was released, Feeder have made the transition from hard-rocking bona-fide pop-rock-stars to a band touting songs full of emotional, soulless dirge. This record is awful. Pushing The Senses is a record that should delight, especially coming of the back of a great album like Comfort In Sound, but where Echo Park was too poppy, Pushing The Senses is just too damn boring.
There are two real standouts on the album, 'Feeling A Moment' and 'Pushing The Senses' (both released as singles), but the rest of the album meanders in the background and doesn’t do much, especially at the midway point. ‘Bitter Glass’ and ‘Tender’ work fairly well in separating out the three main singles (though ‘Tender’ was also released as the fourth single as the double-A side of ‘Shatter’), so in album context they work okay, even thought they are quite dull tracks in themselves. However, after ‘Pushing The Senses’, the second half of the album just slides downwards and doesn’t recover. Put bluntly, ‘Frequency’, ‘Morning Life’, ‘Pilgrim Soul’, ‘Pain On Pain’ and ‘Dove Grey Sands’ are so unrelentingly tedious I couldn’t even remember the track names when I came to review this. There’s nothing to pinpoint one from the other, they all sound tired both lyrically and musically and there is nothing that drags the album out of its monotonous dynamics.
It doesn’t help that Nicholas is re-visiting the same ground as Comfort In Sound, at least lyrically, but where the songs here are in the same vein as the softer moments of the previous album, the older material gives a sense of depth that isn’t found here. Basically, the music is dreary and dull, even the song titles are bleak (Dove Grey Sands"), and most of the album actually sounds like outtakes from 'Comfort In Sound'. Oddly, several b-sides to the singles, like ‘Shatter’ and ‘Crowd Of Stars’ would have sounded a lot better on an album, and a song like ‘Shatter’ would have upped the tempo at the right moment and altered the generally one-dimensional dynamics. To be fair to the band, their sound has improved even more from the last album; the band sounds huge and their use of keyboards and swirling samples gives the album an epic quality that was previously explored with songs like ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Forget About Tomorrow’ from Comfort In Sound. Also of note is Mark Richardson’s stick-snappingly powerful drumming. His arrival really added an extra quality to Feeder’s music arsenal. Other than that, the only really positive thing about the album is that the aforementioned ‘Feeling A Moment’ is one of the best songs Grant has ever written, and also the title track is great in all it’s fuzzed up glory – the one upbeat rock song in the midst of the mire.
In closing, this is the worst Feeder album by far and shows that they are heading in the direction of uninspired and sludgy indie-ballads. Get Yesterday Went To Soon and Comfort In Sound before you even think about this.