|Since their formation in 1992, London’s Feeder has steadily established themselves as one of Brit-rock’s most productive and influential bands. During that time, we’ve seen the band continuously grow as songwriters and musicians, evolving from the vitriolic, angst-ridden dynamics of their potent debut Polythene (1997) to the critically-acclaimed indie rock masterpiece Yesterday Went Too Soon (1999) and of course, to their breakout, mainstream “pop” album Echo Park (2001), which featured the hit single “Buck Rogers.” Even after founding member Jon Lee tragically committed suicide in early 2002, fellow counterparts Grant Nicholas (singer/songwriter, guitarist) and bassist Taka Hirose decided to continue on as a band with ex-Skunk Anansie drummer Mark Richardson in tow, and, later on in 2002, released their fourth album, the emotionally challenging Comfort In Sound. With their fifth studio recording and third collaboration with noted producer Gil Norton (The Pixies, Foo Fighters), Pushing The Senses, which also features additional production from Ken Nelson (Coldplay), finds Feeder once again taking a musical leap forward with perhaps their most sophisticated and provocative album to date.
Musically, Pushing The Senses expands on the more contemplative, mature moments of Comfort In Sound, and delivers elegant, melancholic pop-rock with both American & Brit sensibilities, soaring harmonics, and charmingly wistful lyrics. Unfortunately for fans of Feeder’s earlier albums, this means an even further progression from the band’s “heavier” days and “Buck Rogers”-like antics, though enthusiasts of Comfort In Sound or such bands as Snow Patrol, Keane, Athlete, etc., should find plenty to rejoice about on Pushing The Senses (Music Reviews). Now, from a creative and sonic standpoint, this album is probably the group’s most accessible & restrained effort to date, yet it can be argued that this release is also the band’s most polished and enduring. After all, despite boasting a modest ten tracks, any one of the songs found on Pushing The Senses is a compelling aural experience that reflects the confidence and durability of the band, while teeming with emotional resonance. For fans of Comfort In Sound’s “Come Back Around” or “Just The Way I’m Feeling”, standouts like the ultra-hooky “Feeling A Moment” or the atmospheric “Morning Life” could become your new favorites, whereas the more delicately crafted ballads in “Pain On Pain” and “Dove Grey Sands” take the band to new heights. Of the remaining songs, the first single “Tumble & Fall” and “Frequency” possess a singer-songwriter mentality, “Tender” and “Bitter Glass” are sweet Brit-pop affairs, and the edgier rock tracks “Pushing The Senses” and “Pilgrim Soul” prove the band hasn’t completely forgotten their roots. As a whole, Pushing The Senses is yet another accomplished release from the underappreciated Feeder whose fame may not yet match their impact on the music scene, but given the recent resurgence of Brit artists’ popularity, this may be the year that Feeder finally gets their due…
NOTE: Album released in UK only on January 31, 2005. U.S. release date TBA.