Sound — 9
After "Renegades" this album is a big improvement, and Feeder sound stronger than ever. Although Renegades was an admirable attempt at trying to bring back the Feeder sound of old ("Swim"/"Polythene"), Grant and co. didn't quite do it as well as they could have. However, "Generation Freakshow brings back the old Feeder sound and more. It is a throwback to almost there entire back catalog, and many of the songs sound like they would fit right in on previous albums. 1. "Oh My" - Opens the album up very well, with Feeder's trademark 'quiet/loud' dynamic prevalent. Lots of keyboards augmenting the guitars. Good storytelling lyrics about escaping (a common subject in Grant's lyrics). 2. "Borders" - Lead single from the album and similar to "Oh My", tells the story of a woman who wants to get away from it all. Catchy hook in the verse and a good poppy melody in the chorus makes this a good choice for a lead single. 3. "Idaho" - One of the heavier songs on the album, and definitely one of the best in terms of melody. The song is let down by it's lyrics, which strike me as slightly rehashed and unoriginal, but are very poppy. Because of the melody/ lyrics combo, it is another good choice for a single. 4. "Hey Johnny" - Great lyrics about the death of Feeder's original drummer, Jon Lee. Really cool keyboard and guitar work in this song. 5. "Quiet" - Acoustic driven ballad, builds and builds but doesn't seem to have a noticeable coda. Good lyrics and guitar work in this song. 6. "Sunrise" - One of the best songs on the album. Tells the story of living in a big city (London). The quiet/loud dynamic is key in this song. The guitars and keyboards blend very well. 7. "Generation Freakshow" - A song inspired by the London riots (according to Grant). This song is very similar to Feeders early style (it's much more heavy than the rest of the album). Backing vocals in this song are great, and they mesh very well. 8. "Tiny Minds" - Another heavy song, and one that was left over from the "Renegades" sessions. This song is one of the few Feeder songs to contain a proper guitar solo. Great lyrics that are seemingly about a relationship ending. My personal favourite song off of the album. 9. "In All Honesty" - Features a trumpet hook in most sections of the song. Also, like "Tiny Minds" it features lyrics about a relationship of some sorts. Really happy uptempo song that lifts the mood after "Tiny Minds". 10. "Headstrong" - The quickest paced song on the album, with crashing, loud guitars. Features a dissonant bluesy guitar riff as the main hook. 11. "Fools Can't Sleep" - Without a doubt the weakest song on the album. Not a bad song per se, but it doesn't fit on the album at all, and it grinds the album to a halt (following from "Headstrong"), and ruins the intensity/pace that it built up. The lyrics are good. 12. "Children Of The Sun" - A slow acoustic ballad that draws the album to a close nicely. The lyrics are fairly good, but I still fail to understand what the line "we're like children of the sun" means. Not Grant's best lyrical effort (in my opinion). Despite this, the instrumental aspect is very good and it slowly brings the album to a close.
Lyrics — 9
Grant's lyrics on this album are generally very good (as with many of Feeder's songs). Despite them often being about similar subjects (getting away etc.), each song views this subject from a different angle, which is clever. The lyrics fit well with the music, and they aren't ever intrusive or too quiet (they let the song breathe). For the softer songs Grant sings in a softer tone (e.g "Quiet"), for the louder songs he uses a more shouty voice (e.g "Headstrong"). The backing vocals on this album are also great, and are often multi-layered (the best example of this is on "Oh My", in the chorus). Grant utilises his full vocal range in this album, and doesn't ever sound like he is straining.
Overall Impression — 9
"Generation Freakshow" is without a doubt Feeder's best album since "Echo Park". It manages to bring in all the aspects of the Feeder sound, such as their acoustic aspect, in songs like "Quiet" and "Children Of The Sun", their fast punky aspect, in songs like "In All Honesty" and "Headstrong" and their "heavy but melodic" aspect, in songs like "Borders" and "Oh My". This is a brilliant album from a band, who, in my opinion will never get the recognition or praise they deserve. If someone stole this album from me, I would be very angry, as my copy is signed!