The Band: Grant Nicholas (Guitars & Vocals)
Taka Hirose (Bass Guitar)
Jon Lee (Drums)
Released: 2001 (Echo)
is the third full length album from Welsh band Feeder, and was the last recorded with then drummer Jon Lee before his tragic suicide in January 2002. It marks a progression from their sound on previous albums, which was, at the risk of slipping into cliché, more pub rock than anything else. Although there are moments that can only be classified as rock on this album, there is added subtlety here, which shows the beginnings of the change in sound that 4th album, Come Back Around
, would showcase. However, in the eyes of many critics, including my own, this album remains the most complete, and indeed the best thing that this band has yet put out.
Feeder’s change in style is evident as early as the opening track, with repeated changes in dynamics and tone of the song, with Nicholas singing softly and with tenderness at times, and with a rock swagger at others. What’s also notable is Jon Lee’s pounding drumming, which confirms my belief that he was one of the more underrated drummers in mainstream music. However, if the opening track is impressive albeit slightly odd, Buck Rogers
is a revelation. This defines anthemic in my opinion, with seemingly nonsensical lyrics belying the fact that this song is so blatantly about hope and genuinely good things with a chorus largely consisting of, “I think we’re gonna make it”. Again, it’s nothing original, but it’s strangely impressive nonetheless, and definitely a standout track on here that still gets played on the radio on summer days over here. It’s just got that feel to it where you can’t help somehow feeling good when you listen to it.
Piece By Piece
is another precursor to the “new” Feeder, as it’s another song that wouldn’t sound out of place at all on Comfort In Sound
. Grant sings with eerie foresight that “nothing ever lasts forever”, but this is a slower song all the way through, without any of the crazily dramatic dynamics of Standing On The Edge
. One of the strengths of this album, in my opinion, is that only 3 songs go over 4 minutes, showing that Feeder know what they are good at, writing anthemic soft rock music. While this leaves this open to accusations that they are not challenging themselves musically, I would say that this album does show a definite progression in their music, albeit one that many bands have done before. They just aren’t a band that is suited to writing epic songs.
Seven Days In The Sun
is another of my favourite songs on here, with more strange lyrics over a feel good melody, as the title suggests. This shows off the solidness of Taka Hirose as a bassist, with an impressive bassline, but also the drumming power of Jon Lee, who makes this song for me with regular fills and a beat driving it on. This is another rock song, but when you look at British bands that Feeder get compared with, for example The Stereophonics
, I think this shows that Feeder are vastly better when making the same sort of music. We Can’t Rewind
is more of a ballad, with a power-pop chorus, but it’s another very good song that inspires hope in the listener, with the chorus “This is our time, we can’t rewind, our place to shine now”. It also features the first real guitar solo of the album, that while it isn’t exactly Steve Vai fits the song very well, and takes it to a new level for me. So far the album has been an outstanding Britrock album in my opinion, with enough variety to keep the listener interested, but it really starts showing a new style at this stage.
features effects-laden guitars playing music reminiscent of The Thrills
mixed with Coldplay
more than anyone else to me, but somehow it sounds fresh despite the again, not overly original lyrics. It’s another good song, and one that’s just made to be played live and get the crowd on their feet. It’s songs like this that make Feeder regulars at most UK festivals, as it’s got that summer feel to it again, as does much of this album. Choke
is the first song for me where standards dip somewhat, as it’s more of a shouty attempt than anything else, and the production sounds strangely off, maybe with the drums just not sounding quite right. Oxygen
though is a very broody, far better song, with a mournful guitar line leading into Nicholas warning “We’re all connected”. The chorus becomes slightly more upbeat, although this is a song that’s somewhat atypical of the album, but still very compelling and impressive. The layered vocals here show, possibly more than anything else, the fact that while they can write a great anthemic soft-rock tune, they do have a side that can experiment; they merely know where their limits are, but this song shows a Feeder that you wouldn’t know existed on the strength of the first 2 albums.
Tell All Your Friends
has a very funky bassline as an intro, and it’s a song that builds with some pounding drumming before fading again as Grant seems to reign in his band. One of the things I most like about Feeder is the feeling you get that they are a band that love playing together, and this is the case on this song, with more genuinely joyful lyrics and vocals over inventive drumming for a band with a sound like this. Under The Weather
is another of the more experimental songs on here, with what I think are vocal samples at the beginning before distorted vocals singing about a wish for return to youth, and “Debbie Harry and Steve McQueen”. It’s sung from very much a teenage point of view as well, and is yet another anthem on here that everyone can sing along with. This is a prime example of a band pushing their sound beyond where it was before, while making music that they know will appeal to their fanbase. It’s not exactly Radiohead
, but it’s another song that hits the spot.
is comfortably the longest song on here, and is another slower song that could easily have been a single off the next album. Grant Nicholas for me has an underrated voice that is displayed here very well, showing that he’s not one of these British singers that settles for not getting the most out of himself and his band (the Gallaghers anyone") but someone who is determined to make the most of the opportunity he has, with what is not the most talented of bands ever to grace the big stage. Bug
is a strange ending to the album, as a vaguely punk sounding track to me, which takes the listener somewhat by surprise, also due to the heavier riffing than many of the tracks on here. It’s a good end though, that again shows some of their different types of music. The song ends in a hail of feedback, before what sounds like a computer game’s music ends the album. It’s a strange end, but nevertheless a good one.
I hadn’t listened to this album for a while before I refound it about 2 weeks ago, and decided to give it another listen. For some reason I’d associated it with all the other Britrock bands like Supergrass
, but this album really does go beyond that stereotype. If you like that sort of music, then this is a must-buy, but even if not, I can recommend checking it out. This is not an earth-changing album, it's not full of complex time signatures and strange instruments, but it offers a lot of anthemic music, which I can tell you from experience sounds brilliant live. This is a band that work very hard (along with Muse, they are probably the most prolific tourers among UK bands), and that shows with their dedication to making the best music they can on here. Comfort In Sound
was a bit of a dissapointment for me after this, although that was possibly inevitable after Jon Lee's death, but this remains nonetheless, a good album.
: Buck Rogers
Seven Days In The Sun
We Can't Rewind
Under The Weather
Final Rating: 3.5/5