After a career spanning 21 years, Feeder’s latest offering, Generation Freakshow, unfortunately offers nothing new and inspiring, especially when compared to their impressive back catalogue, including the likes of Echo Park (2001) and Comfort in Sound (2005).
This is not to say Generation Freakshow is anything but a good record; Feeder’s 8th studio album strikes reminiscence to the Welsh band’s earlier days, overshooting the mediocre listening of Renegades (2010) and returns a much missed and welcoming nostalgic melodic sound that main songwriter Grant Nicholas was all too good at producing.
Generation Freakshow does lack the anthemic power of previous releases, with barely a song on this new record that is catchy enough to go down as a Feeder classic. Despite that, this is an extremely accessible record that finds itself caught between a chilled rock sound and the grittier punk characterisation of Feeder’s ’90’s albums.
Opener ‘Oh My’ begins Generation Freakshow very strongly, and admittedly sets anticipation high for what is to come. While the chorus is lacking in comparison to upcoming tracks on the album, the style of guitar rhythm and easy listening of the song provides one of the most incisive intros seen of a Feeder album.
Lead single ‘Borders’, though strikingly similar to the blueprint of an early Killer’s song, offers the big chorus that ‘Oh My’ missed, and lives up to the standard set by the opening track. Followed by, arguably, the most enduring song from Generation Freakshow, the grunge-inspired ‘Idaho’, this record sadly does not seem to progress onwards from this point, peaking where there is a lot left to be desired for. Notable verses and unforgettable choruses are something that was probably finished in Pushing the Senses (2005).
‘Quiet’ delivers potentially the best guitar riff of the album, with a superb mixing of harmonies between backing vocals and prominent keyboard melodies. Yet again though, it is a song that is very listenable but not very memorable.
In direct contrast, hard-hitting tracks including ‘Headstrong’ and ‘In All Honesty’ provide a different perspective to Generation Freakshow, perhaps sounding as if they belonged to a different record all together than the aforementioned songs. Full of energy and completely riotous, it is a shame that Feeder’s sold-out stadium days are most likely over, for these would have certainly been popular live hits.
Ending with an emotionally charged ballad, ‘Children of the Sun’ is one of the better songs on Generation Freakshow. Given that, the track still falls way short of chart topping ‘Feeling A Moment’, but nonetheless provides a congenial ‘lighters in the air’ finish to the album.
While some songs are lost between the more illustrious tracks, including ‘Fools Can’t Sleep’ and ‘Sunrise’, this record is still a respectable addition to an extensive back catalogue. Even though Generation Freakshow is unlikely to break out too far of their current fanbase, Feeder continue to avoid succumbing to the pressure of marketing and radio demands that have become so dominant over today’s charts, producing songs they want to write from their own label, Big Teeth Music.