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Feeder - All Bright Electric (Album Review)

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 Written by Graeme Marsh

Feeder have taken their fair share of criticism over the years, but in truth it’s hard to dislike them. They have, after all, given us plenty of uplifting moments in the last couple of decades: Day In Day Out, Feeling A Moment, Buck Rogers, Seven Days In The Sun. Take your pick.  

Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose have been churning out studio albums as Feeder since 1997’s ‘Polythene’, with ‘All Bright Electric’ their ninth effort. It’s been four years since the release of ‘Generation Freakshow’ and the intervening period produced a couple of solo collections from Nicholas, which it’s been said have had a reinvigorating effect on the band’s frontman.

Everyone recognises the standard Feeder song template: quiet/loud, stop/start and usually topped off with a chorus heading for the anthemic. Well, things have changed a little over the years. Although there have been a few similar moments for fans to savour of late, Feeder have unleashed a darker, heavier side on more recent albums.

‘All Bright Electric’ continues along the same path. Lead single Universe of Life provides a thunderous, Muse-like start to the album, but Eskimo is more reliant on their old sound. It’s fine, but an effective yet unadventurous chorus reveals an album trait early on.

The powerful Geezer begins with a Kasabian-like chant before developing into something electrifying. It’s stunning up to a point, with its chorus failing to reach the heights alluded to by its brilliant verses and bridge. Together, the songs amount to a solid start even if they steer clear of going anywhere too memorable.

The centre of the album, though, is where its biggest strengths lie. The excellent Infrared-Ultraviolet is a slow, brooding mini masterpiece that eventually leads to a huge chorus, albeit one that feels a little truncated as Nicholas seems to run out of words (think Breathe from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’).

A strumming pattern reminiscent of Spear of Destiny’s Never Take Me Alive opens Oh Mary, but the comparison is short-lived. A reflective, minimalist moment, the song is a thing of beautiful, subtle serenity. The Impossible, though, revives the heavy gloss of earlier tracks and lands on an initially impressive chorus, but one where Nicholas’ one-note vocals might prevent too many repeat visits.

Towards the tail end, we find a mixed bag. Divide The Minority bursts into life as Garbage might, but it’s not groundbreaking, while Hundred Liars is perhaps the album’s best use of the template of old. Its chorus - “We could be heroes” - probably has only one place in rock history, though. The closer, Another Day On Earth, is a fine way to finish. After a piano-led intro, verses akin to Babybird’s You’re Gorgeous whisper until its dynamic hook soars.

For all its bullish bluster the more minimalist tracks here will stick in the head longest. There’s plenty to like about ‘All Bright Electric’, but it’s ultimately a record that will leave fans only partially satisfied as they look for the usually abundant melodies. Instead, we’re left to appreciate its moody, underlying power rather than the uplifting, fist-pumping hooks of the past.

Feeder Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue October 04 2016 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Thu October 06 2016 - NORWICH Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA
Fri October 07 2016 - EXETER Lemon Grove
Sun October 09 2016 - LEEDS Beckett University Union
Mon October 10 2016 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Wed October 12 2016 - LONDON Roundhouse
Thu October 13 2016 - PORTSMOUTH Pyramids
Fri October 14 2016 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Sun October 16 2016 - DUBLIN Academy
Mon October 17 2016 - BELFAST Limelight
Wed October 19 2016 - CARDIFF Tramshed
Thu October 20 2016 - EXETER Lemon Grove

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