Not many bands can say that they have reached album number eight but Feeder, with their follow up to 2010’s Renegades, have hit that milestone with their latest offering Generation Freakshow. Seventeen years have passed since the release of their debut EP Two Colours but now Feeder seemed to have hit the proverbial glass ceiling with a sickening thud, joining the likes of so many bands that fade into being surrounded by nothing but a relatively small, but loyal following. Yet Generation Freakshow seems to do Feeder no favours if they want to smash through the barrier that’s only going to get harder and harder to break.
This latest album seems to be best described as ‘samey but solid’ and with virtually no hooks to reel in anything but their most diehard existing fans, Feeder peddle out a somewhat weary sounding set of songs that range from the radio friendly big choruses of ‘Borders’, the soft melodic ballads of ‘Children of the Sun’ and thrashing post grunge hark backs in ‘Headstrong’. The music is likeable and agreeable to the ear but nothing that can be called inspiring; the album is an amalgamation of all the sounds they have played in their distinguished career.
But the problem is while the album may sound like you are walking down memory lane with Feeder, none of the tracks quite match up to what they have been able to produce in the past. The pop rock? They did it better on Echo Park. The ballads? They did them better on Pushing The Senses. The grunge? It was better on Polythene. So as you listen to Generation Freakshow, you find yourself wanting to go back to 1997 with the release of Polythene to live their career again. That was the sound of a band on the rise, rather than one on the way down.
But do not get me wrong, I do not hate this album. I would use the expression ‘diamonds in the rough’, but the good tracks aren’t good enough when stacked up to Feeder’s previous to be called diamonds, and the rest of the album isn’t bad enough to be called rough. ‘Borders’ and ‘Hey Johnny’ are early highlights and the closing track – and most recent single – ‘Children of the Sun’ is just excellent.
To summarise, I would call Generation Freakshow not bad but simply unremarkable; it’s appealing if you are a big fan of the band but there isn’t really much else to say. Being myself one of their devoted following I would go as far as to say this is their most disappointing album to date, which is a shame as showcased by some of the tracks and 2011’s charity single ‘Side by Side’, Feeder are still capable of writing absolutely top notch material.