The brand of raucous rock anthem which catapulted them to fame is virtually absent...
Lisa Haines 2005-02-02
Pushing The Senses, Feeder's fifth studio album, is an atmospheric outing influenced by the toll of recent experience, and fans will notice their sound has softened since the suicide of former drummer Jon Lee, in 2002. "A lot of these songs are about how your mind works after you go through something" says singer and guitarist Grant Nicholas.
The album is mainly produced by long-time collaborator Gil Norton (The Pixies, Foo Fighters) and these ten songs adopt a sobering melancholy wholly different to the exuberance of earlier efforts Echo Park or Yesterday Went Too Soon. Feeder were once touted as Britain's answer to The Smashing Pumpkins, but the band are now closer in sound to Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Keane.
The brand of raucous rock anthem which catapulted them to fame is virtually absent here, the band's new sound is far more thoughtful and understated. "Feeling A Moment" and "Tumble And Fall" are prime examples. Both have Coldplay inspired soaring vocals and catchy melodies, but a little of their lyrical hand wringing seems to have crept in too.
That's not to say the album is bad, because there is a lot to like here. "Pilgrim Soul" and title track "Pushing The Senses" see Feeder thrash furiously away at their instruments, which should appease those who prefer their earlier work.
A shot of melodic sweetness streams through the whole album, most winsomely on the piano-led "Tender", where feel-good chorus, 'Turn over everything, time can heal us again, I'm tender in your arms', appears to signal the band's desire to put the past behind them.
And while "Pain On Pain" is a plaintive but dull ballad, "Morning Life" and "Bitter Glass" fare much better, showing vocal and instrumental debts to another master of melancholia, the erstwhile Elliott Smith.
Pushing The Senses marks Feeder's determination to embrace their maturity as a band. This could be a bold start to a new era but may alienate old fans. Listen to it now and decide.