After tacking the rankings of Metallica and Megadeth recently I decided to take a look at some of the other significant bands I have in my collection, the first one that sprung to mind was Feeder.
The first CD I ever bought was the Stereo World single, yes, I stayed with cassettes for that long!
Not through choice, just couldn`t afford a CD player, player, player, player….
Buuuut, back on point, please have a read below for my ranking of all the albums that Feeder have released over the course of their 25 year long career.
12.Pushing The Senses
Picking a bottom album for Feeder is not an easy task as they don’t really have any bad albums, more of a sliding scale of awesome.
But, at the lowest point of awesome sits Pushing The Senses, this album sadly was always destined to struggle, after the runaway success of Echo Park and the emotional rollercoaster of Comfort In Sound this album despite being good and having arguably their second biggest hit with “Feeling A Moment”.
It’s a nice album, and that’s probably why it’s the low point for me, Feeder haven’t ever really been aggressive, but there is usually a few sharp edges here and there, but not here, it feels a little more like an effort to continue down the pop rock road that Comfort In Sound had taken them to.
11.All Bright Electric
This is a fantastic album, but it’s the sound of a band that isn’t quite sure what it wants to sound like.
All of the classic Feeder sounds are present and correct. Fuzzy guitars, riffs that walk the fine line between indie and rock, Grants calm, controlled vocals, huge hooks all over the place. But much like Pushing The Senses it’s very nice again. “Universe Of Life” and “Eskimo” are a great opening duo, and were superb choices as lead singles, but the energy and oomph of these two sadly don’t translate into the other songs and despite them being pleasant they don’t grab the attention quite like the second halves of Feeder albums used to.
A stunning album, armed with monster riffs, the indie was starting to drift out and was being replaced with big groovy rock.
The clean guitars were substituted for fuzzy grunge sounding grooves, such as lead single “We Are The People” and the stomping “Itsumo”
But it was still Feeder, and as always Grant manages to squeeze in more hooks that your average anglers shop.
But the light was still there, the nice pop rock flavours from Pushing The Senses still lingered. And I think this left the fans and the label confused, as they weren’t sure what Feeder were trying to do or say. Due to this the response from both fans and critics was mixed. It’s a shame as it’s got some great songs on it, but it needed a little push or a bit more bite in places to keep the listeners attention.
This album is the sound of a band striking back with defiance. They had been written off as another indie band gone pop to an extent by both critics and fans. Which based on the single choices of the previous albums, it’s easy to see why, this album stamps those lighter moments out, this is a fuzzed up rock album with a few shorter sharper numbers in the vein of “Tangerine” or “WIT”. As such for many it was seen as a return to form, for me, the form didn’t ever drop, it just changed styles, I can say I preferred this style which is why it’s higher than the previous albums, but it’s also got a more cohesive style and vibe to it, it feels like a more complete record. There were goals set, and I feel this album hit everything it aims for.
8.Comfort In Sound
I can’t even begin to fathom how Grant and Taka must have felt when the news hit them. Losing their drummer to suicide after they finally hit success.
What to do? Retire the band, continue the band? Channel the feelings into happy music as you always did before?
Or change style to reflect the loss?
It would appear that Grant took the latter option and mourned the loss of Jon Lee in his writing. As such, Comfort In Sound oozes emotion, some good, I’m guessing with positive memories of his departed friend. Confusion, over the loss and reasoning why his friend took his life. And mourning. Sadly, and not unsurprisingly the mourning comprises the majority of the album, but the offsetting of the slower songs with the few lighter moments allows the album to breathe life into the music and it flows magnificently.
From the now classic opening of “Just The Way I’m Feeling” to the crushing crescendo at the end of “Moonshine” it weaves a wonderful sonic story. With a total of 5 singles being lifted from the album, it was a massive success for the band, it’s a shame it had to come from a situation that was so awful for them.
The great big grunge album Feeder had always threatened to make, they finally made and pretty much went sonically full circle.
It was the closest they had managed to get back to their original sound. Whether it was intentional, only they will know, but the fan reaction was very positive. And for good reason, it’s an exceptional album. Loaded with keen and sharp riffs, pounding beats and rythyms. And on top of it all, Grants everyman storytelling lyrics of finding a girl, chasing the girl, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, we have all been there, it’s very relatable. And very catchy!
It’s the true power of the band, Grant can write a song about pretty much any everyday activity and wring a melody out of it, witness the “CD player” lyric in “Buck Rogers”, more on that later.
Originally this was a 6 track EP, but it was reissued in 2001 with an extra 5 tracks on it making it a full album.
Of the original 6, 2 would go on to be featured in their full length debut album Polythene, and 3 of them would be used as b-sides on some of the Polythene singles. The reissue would also feature a reworked version of “Chicken on a Bone” , one of the two tracks on their debut single “Two Colours”.
This is the band sounding at their most like the Smashing Pumpkins, huge swirling guitars and some hectic heavy drums drive the songs. These early releases also feature a rougher and rawer side to Grant’s voice. And element that he would refine over time, but for me it’s when he was at his best, the chorus on “Descend” being a perfect example of it. His voice hits a perfect middle ground between a sing and a scream, it’s a magical thing that he stripped back and fine tuned into the band as time passed.
This album is the culmination of the hard work the band put in during the early years. Yesterday Went Too Soon charted well and had songs featuring heavily on Channel 4’s Teachers. So the groundwork had been done to push the band to the masses. But I don’t think anyone was expecting “Buck Rogers” to be quite as big a hit as it was. Despite it being the hit from the album, it’s far from the best thing on the album, the trip hop inspired “Piece By Piece” is mesmerising, “We Can’t Rewind” is rock perfection, “Turn” is just fuzzed up pop rock magic and that’s before the slow burn of “Oxygen” builds to an emotional maelstrom before it’s close. The last 3 or 4 songs punch home sharp and swift grungy pop fun, all crunchy guitars and shiny choruses. But it’s not all perfect, “Bug” is awful, just a slab of pointless noise at the end of the album, “Satellite News” meanders to nowhere, it’s got a nice idea and melody that just doesn’t go anywhere and ends up a little boring. They are the only reason this album isn’t higher, as the other albums don’t have any bad songs!
This album is one of those rarest of rare things, a shining beacon of an amazing album deep, deep into a bands career.
And it is a truly fantastic album. This is an album from a band that knows exactly how they want each song to sound, and have perfected those elements through years of practice.
The songwriting is clear and concise.
The rock songs rock.
The quiet songs allow the music room to breathe, and give the listeners a brief moment of calm reflection.
As usual it’s the simple storytelling elements of Grants lyrics that do the hard work on the album, the calm acoustic closer being a highlight.
But that’s only after the realisation by the fourth or fifth track that this album really is that good.
I’m a little embarrassed to say I was surprised by it being that good, but I was. I have enjoyed the last few albums from Feeder, but this is head and shoulders above them.
3.Picture Of Perfect Youth
Yep I know.
I know what you’re thinking, but this double album of b sides is third on my list. Because it is populated mainly from b sides from the first 3 albums, a time when they were arguably equally at their most prolific and at their best.
Across such a vast collection you would expect the quality to dip. And in fairness it does here and there, but it’s a drop from amazing songs to just good ones.
This album is dizzying in both it’s quality and quantity.
Taking in pretty much every aspect of the bands sonic make up, the heavy and fuzzed up “World Asleep” and “Bullet”, the punky fun of “Whooey” and “Spill”, the awkward groove of “Rubberband” and “Slider” and the glorious sound of the early Smashing Pumpkins-ish “Here In The Bubble” (which was the working title for Polythene) and my personal favourite song by the band “Undivided”.
It’s a fantastic collection of songs, that I didn’t ever buy as a set purely because I was an avid collector of the singles for the first 4 albums, which populate this collection so I already had them in my collection, which was unbelievably annoying to rip onto my laptop, but totally worth it!
2.Yesterday Went Too Soon
This is the album I expected the band to break into the big time with myself. After the sleeper success of the previous album, songs appearing on the very popular Gran Turismo videogame and on popular TV shows such as This Life and Teachers, the band embarked on a tour of Virgin Megastores to promote lead single “Day In Day Out” everything was pointing towards a hit. Yet it didn’t quite land. They hit the Top 30 and toured to slightly bigger rooms, but it felt like they should have been in bigger venues. The sound of the music on the album was designed for stadiums. It was huge.
Probably their most indie release, the huge title track has a chorus the size of the Eastern Block that allows Grants voice to soar.
But it wasn’t all nice chords and delicate harmonies, they slowed things down and changed to tone entirely on “Tinseltown” as they tell the story of failed dreams in the big city, on “Radioman” as they tell the tale of a homeless guy with only his wireless to keep him company.
But that wasn’t everything, there’s still room for a little speed with “Evergreen” , “Hole In The Head” and the second single “Insomnia” all armed with punky, spiky riffs and chanted shouty choruses.
This album is perfect. Not a beat missed, not a note out of place.
The album so nice they released it twice.
It’s true, a year apart, the Polythene Repackaged included the additional songs “High” after it became a huge summer hit, for good reason, the dreamy acoustic intro giving way to a huge fuzzy chorus.
And “Change” , the third track of four from the “Stereo World” EP was also added and “Waterfall” was removed.
It can’t be denied, the changes improved the flow of the album, the calm and mournful pace of “Change” was perfect to break up the riff fest of “Stereo World” before the punktastic explosion of “Tangerine”.
Yet again Grants lyrics of love and loss are at the forefront, most obviously on “Cement” as he tells a story of a chap being driven out of his mind by a lady he believes he will never be able to get. And it’s this, the everyday tales that make the lyrics resonate. No politics. No deep thinking. Just simple, understandable and relatable themes. All wrapped up in spectacular Brit-Rock, some of the best Brit-Rock this side of 3 Colours Red, A, Joyrider or The Wildhearts and the such.
Acknowledged this album has huge sentimental value for me as it was one of the key albums I grew up with at the end of the 90s, I was one of the pictures of perfect youth, but that still doesn’t diminish the perfect songwriting and brilliant performances from the whole band. It’s a top 5 album of all time for me.