Here’s what we think about the latest release from Feeder…
You would probably be forgiven for thinking you know what to expect from Feeder at this point in their career. Having formed in 1994, they’re almost on the precipice of their 30th year together. Over these 28 years, Feeder have amassed an incredible greatest hits catalogue and yet still seem to never quite be at the forefront of the mind of anyone but their most devoted fans. It’s a genuine shame, especially because their most recent output has, for the most part, been great. 2019’s Tallulah was brilliant, one of their best albums ever in this writer’s opinion (you can read our review here), and it’s criminal that most of their 2010’s output hasn’t been more widely listened to. That said though, I’d hazard a guess that the band themselves are comfortable with the level they’re currently at, frequently headlining venues like the Brixton Academy and Roundhouse whenever they pass through London.
Nearly 3 full years since Tallulah (even though it barely feels like a few months have passed…), here we find ourselves with Feeder’s 11th studio album, Torpedo. An album written and recorded during the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic, you’d be very wrong to think this is a lockdown album – influenced by it, certainly, but if anything it’s far more about the aftermath. This is a Feeder album through and through, a very good Feeder album in fact, with darker tinges to the music that echo the band’s frustration over the last 2 years, and yet it takes those darker feelings and really tries to find a positive outlook in the future and moving past it all. I’d say it succeeds in doing so too. Reader, I loved Tallulah, it became a very comforting presence for me during the countless hours stuck at home over the last 2 years. Torpedo takes the confidence and assuredness of that album, and builds upon it to create something that, dare I say, is even better.
I do want to stress, when I say that Torpedo is a dark album, I do mean by Feeder’s standards. Perhaps best compared to 2010’s Renegades, the distortion and fuzz are frequently turned up here, with a heaviness that has only made fleeting appearances across Feeder’s music in the years since. Equally I’d like to point out, yes, it’s dark but it’s never bleak. The lyrics on this album find Grant Nicholas really channelling a glass-half-full hopefulness to people coming out of the last few years more connected and willing to make things better. In fact, it’s almost like 2 versions of Feeder are contrasting with each other across the album’s 46-minute runtime. The regular Feeder often playing with typically huge choruses and Pop melodies, whilst what I would describe as Feeder’s evil twin spectrally weaves its way into the music, sometimes subtly as in When It All Breaks Down, but other times basically breaking into an already established Feeder song such as in opening track The Healing. This could make it sound disjointed in lesser hands, but one of the greatest marvels of Torpedo is just how successfully this contrast takes place.
Highlights include the aforementioned The Healing and When It All Breaks Down, but truth be told this album is so consistently brilliant that every track has a chance at being a highlight depending on what you’re looking for. Looking for something softer and a little more chill, take a listen to Hide and Seek. If you want something so heavy it makes your gut rumble, check out Magpie (which incidentally has a hilariously quirky riff which sounds to me like it could have been played on a stylophone). If you want something a little more typical Feeder, you’re covered in perfect fashion by Wall of Silence.
Above all else, if you just want to listen to some excellent Rock songs written by one of Britain’s best bands, stick the whole album on and have a great time. It’s not quite essential listening, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to listen to it.