This first full-length album after their EP Swim, Polythene is surely a must for any Feeder fan who has not yet got it in their collection.
At this point I think it is important to clarify the meaning of the title. It is not an intimation that Feeder have declined since this early work. No, it merely reflects how much more angst ridden Grant et al appeared to be in their early days. Much of this album is quite dark (you only need to look at the track titles) but don't worry that's not to say you will fall yourself into a pit of despair upon listening to them!
I have seen Feeder live 7 times and can testify that many of Feeder's greatest live tracks come from this album. High is probably the original anthem these lads produced and its quality is matched by the all the tracks within the opening 5 on the album.
The album as a whole is rawer than later albums. The middle patch of the album is a little weaker than the superb opening due to its dirgy feeling but this should not detract from the uplifting and energetic opening of the tracks that kick off the album. Also I think it is unfortunate for the later tracks which pick up where track 5 left off but sometimes get neglected due to interest waning in the middle.
Here is a quick summary of the individual tracks based on their relative worth.
1. Polythene - vibrant, energetic track with chugging guitars over which Nicholas's vocals chortle then attack! (7/10)
2. My Perfect Day - dreamy with a hypnotic intensity during the verses and bridges which breaks into a stirring chorus (9/10)
3. Cement - Upbeat contrast to previous track that deals with the frustrations of love (8//10)
4. High - Feeder anthem! A great song with a memorable chorus. It may casue you to do things like raise a lighter or hug someone! (9/10)
5. Crash - Spicy little number that flits continually between tranquil, dreamy moments and sudden moments of passionate release. (8/10)
6. Radiation - A bit melancholic this one but not in the uplifting way that characterises many of Feeder's more downbeat songs. The guitars crash in in typical style but maybe in a noisy rather than stirring manner! (5/10)
7. Suffocate - One of the slower songs on the album. However, if you want slow Feeder songs there's much better ones on the next album they released (for example Tinsletown, Radioman etc) (4/10)
8. Descend - Quite dark this one. Inoffensive, good if you want to indulge a bad mood but nothing remarkable: possibly good for those with gothic tendancies! (6/10)
9. Stereo World - A bit of a manic guitar opening to this one. It is relentless and has typical Feeder movements from pacy guitars and vocals to moments of reflective calm. (7/10)
10. Change - A much needed slow down in pace (good track planning being, as it is sandwiched between two relatively agressive little numbers). A good, dreamy track. (7/10)
11. Tangerine - Dreamy this is not. Abstract and adrenalin fuelled. I have never heard this live though always craved it! I may be alone in this nonetheless this is one of those Feeder tracks where you throw away your rational mind gladly and start banging the old head - that is if there was such a headbanging Feeder fan!) (8/10)
12. A solid album track with catchy chorus and some powerful guitar crunching. (7/10)
13. Sounds a bit like Grant is stuck in some kind of container for this one due to its echoey feel. Inoffensive but fairly ineffectual and short. (5/10)
I have grudgingly given this an overall rating of three stars. This album needs to be more consistent to be declared good or excellent and (as with many Feeder tunes) the lyrics are occasionally a little "easy". However, this was for many months in my youth my favourite album. Tellingly, I don't listen to it that much now, so maybe its longevity could be called into question.