While Feeder haven’t quite matched how popular they were back in the early 2000’s since then, they have been hard at work on new albums. Their most recent effort was Generation Freakshow, released in 2012.
Was this the big comeback they were hoping for?
“Oh My”, the opening track, is certainly energetic and very much 100% Feeder. It’s an entertaining, melodically solid song with an enjoyable chorus and some nice touches near the end. It’s definitely one of the album’s highlights. Backing “woo’s” add an atmospheric structure to the next song, “Borders”, which was the first single to be released from the album. It’s not bad, parts of it are pretty fun, but it’s definitely a more commercial, very indie tune you’d expect The Killers to come up with.
Third single “Idaho”‘s few Nirvana-style opening seconds lead us to a surprisingly softer and more restrained effort with the odd Teen Spirit burst. Light and mostly harmless, this one. “Hey Johnny” is next and it’s an infinitely sadder, more melancholic song as it’s about the band’s former drummer Jon Lee, who committed suicide back in 2002. It’s a heartfelt track which grows on you quickly and its melody successfully delivers the emotional impact it was looking for. The song builds up to a cool, heavier ending. One of the album’s strongest and most memorable tunes.
“Quiet” is another downer with a decent core melody but, as a whole, the song’s a little too repetitive and forgettable. Those few emo Feeder fans out there should appreciate it, though. Which ain’t no bad thing. The album picks up again with “Sunrise”, a mercifully louder track with great verses but, sadly, a disappointing chorus which prevents the song from going anywhere interesting. Shame.
The title song, “Generation Freakshow”, is next and it’s an angstier track you’d probably expect more from Green Day circa American Idiot. It’s lively, varied and likeable despite the weaker chorus. Armed with a solid riff and chorus, “Tiny Minds” then comes in and it’s a fun, bitter track that’s very Feeder throughout. Some electronic sounds support the bridge in an interesting way and the whole thing’s catchy enough.
“In All Honesty” is an involving, faster-paced song with some good ideas but, ultimately, it’s in mortal danger of sounding like a tween-friendly McFly song or something. Luckily, the next song is a much better and much rockier effort. “Headstrong” may not have the catchiest of choruses but the track has a good energy to it, fair riffs and I could see this one being tons of fun live. As for “Fools Can’t Sleep”, it’s a bluesy song with a slower, folkier rhythm to it. Again, the chorus isn’t too mind-blowing but otherwise it’s a heartfelt track that, at least, has the guts to try something a bit different.
The final track, “Children Of The Sun”, is a grander, more atmospheric and experimental song which ends things on a bigger, more reflective scale. It may be too upbeat or nostalgic for some but its heart’s in the right place. Hidden acoustic track “Sky Life” is tied to it and it actually fits in rather well.
So what’s the verdict?
In all honesty, Generation Freakshow is a hard one to hate but also a tough one to truly like. We all know Feeder are capable of much better and it’s a tad frustrating to sit through an album with so few catchy and memorable tracks. You’ll probably enjoy parts of it but, by the end, you’ll struggle to recall most of it.
That’s only 2 Shady Dudes out of 5 for Feeder this time, which can sound a little harsh seeing as it definitely has its moments, but that’s only to encourage more of the good stuff.
Heavier tracks with more inventive and head-invading choruses is what’s needed now.
Feed us, damnit!