Pushing the Senses, Feeders fifth studio album builds on the introspective maturity that made Comfort in Sound a hit with both critics and record-buyers alike. Far removed from the upbeat power-pop of breakthrough Echo Park, Senses owes a greater debt to the sound of Americas mid-west, jumbled up with some quintessentially British song-writing.
"Tumble and Fall", the first single to be lifted, is an un-ashamed power-ballad. The words may be slightly ham-fisted ("tumble and fall, together we crawl"), but the melody catches so brilliantly that the actual lyrical content doesnt matter amidst the soulful verse and explosive chorus. This style of downbeat MOR with epic refrains continues throughout most of the album with only "Pilgrim Soul" forcing out any energy, the rest demonstrating the same quiet restraint that Grant has adopted for his vocals. Whilst the noise has been toned down from their days as festival stalwarts, the sound is still grand, almost stadium sized, but in a more considered and less sweaty way. The influences behind many of the songs seem to drift in then disappear again with echoes of REM ("Pushing the Senses"), Mercury Rev ("Frequency") and Belle & Sebastian ("Dove Grey Sands") making an impression without leaving a mark.
From the ten songs here its difficult to pick stand outs as the quality is un-wavering and the overall sound is very easy to listen to. If their last album was the sound of a band coming of age, Pushing the Senses is the sound of Feeder in the prime of life. --Georgina Collins
Pushing The Senses, Feeder's fifth studio album, is an atmospheric outing influenced by the toll of recent experience, and fans will notice their sound has softened since the suicide of former drummer Jon Lee, in 2002. "A lot of these songs are about how your mind works after you go through something" says singer and guitarist Grant Nicholas.
The album is mainly produced by long-time collaborator Gil Norton (The Pixies, Foo Fighters) and these ten songs adopt a sobering melancholy wholly different to the exuberance of earlier efforts Echo Park or Yesterday Went Too Soon. Feeder were once touted as Britain's answer to The Smashing Pumpkins, but the band are now closer in sound to Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Keane.
The brand of raucous rock anthem which catapulted them to fame is virtually absent here, the band's new sound is far more thoughtful and understated. "Feeling A Moment" and "Tumble And Fall" are prime examples. Both have Coldplay inspired soaring vocals and catchy melodies, but a little of their lyrical hand wringing seems to have crept in too.
That's not to say the album is bad, because there is a lot to like here. "Pilgrim Soul" and title track "Pushing The Senses" see Feeder thrash furiously away at their instruments, which should appease those who prefer their earlier work.
A shot of melodic sweetness streams through the whole album, most winsomely on the piano-led "Tender", where feel-good chorus, 'Turn over everything, time can heal us again, I'm tender in your arms', appears to signal the band's desire to put the past behind them.
And while "Pain On Pain" is a plaintive but dull ballad, "Morning Life" and "Bitter Glass" fare much better, showing vocal and instrumental debts to another master of melancholia, the erstwhile Elliott Smith.
Pushing The Senses marks Feeder's determination to embrace their maturity as a band. This could be a bold start to a new era but may alienate old fans. Listen to it now and decide. --Lisa Haines
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FEEDER Pushing The Senses (2005 UK 10-track CD album which encompasses all the elements that make the band one of the UKs premier rock bands - an epic full of stadium filling anthems including the single Tumble And Fall!)