This is a superb album and follows the brilliant Feeder album Generation Freakshow, which saw them back to their best. The sound is very different in places - half the songs could have made it onto a typical Feeder record, while the rest of the songs are acoustic affairs. The melodies and choruses are very catchy throughout though.
The beautiful album opener is a bit like Nick Drake with an opening reminiscent of Jose Gonzalez's version of Heartbeats. It sounds like it belongs to a movie scene, where someone is on a boat/train and leaving somewhere - "let's pack our bags so we can sail away, sail away....when we go back we can tell our friends what we have seen".
Hitori is a great song and is a bit more uptempo in sound, but some of the lyrics are quite melancholic eg "Sorrow will find me wherever I go". There's a catchy chorus that goes "Never gonna make it...never gonna get there alone...love is not the enemy". I do wonder if this is a song about Grant's Japanese wife, as Hitori is the Japanse word for "alone" (thanks Wikipedia!) and the song hints at long-distance relationship issues eg "when there's miles between us, stop running, let's keep this love alive".
Tall Trees is another slower song with some piano on it. It's a real grower - another potential "movie scene" moment. The next song Robots is a real belter, with a great looping riff to open it. It a real uptempo song and one of the album's highlights, even though I'm not totally sure what it's about. It seems to be related to human emotions and hope and it could easily be a Feeder song.
Vampires starts with a Just The Way I'm Feeling sound and has a catchy chorus "why you so sad, when you're looking so fine". The song is fairly acoustic but quite uptempo and Grant has said that it is about an imaginary person called Maria, who is in with the wrong crowd in the city. Good Fortune Lies Ahead is a slower acoustic number and is pleasant enough, if not particularly memorable, it could be the weak point fo the album.
Joan Of Arc sounds like Nick Cave singing "It's been pouring for days" and is very dark. Grant sings "So I went back to tell the tale, choking on my own betrayal and I hear voices from the grave". Maybe singing about his lost friend Jon Lee, but not sure what the betrayal could be or what he is singing about when he sings "I made a mistake". A superb song and the chorus has shades of Tom Petty. Hope is another great uptempo number that sounds like a Feeder song.
Isolation begins with an "It's the final showdown" line and mentions "a lonely dark place where love can turn to hate". It's got a Feeder chorus with Grant singing "come on, come on, come on, we'll get through this, a little more give and a little less take". It seems to be about relationship ups and downs again - "biting on tongues while we walk away" suggests a relationship on the rocks but "I think we'll make it" suggests all may not be lost. It's another highlight on the album.
On Broken Resolutions, Grant sings about someone feeling sorry for himself and it goes into more relationship issues. The chorus reminds me of Yesterday Went To Soon. Next up is the album's standout track Time Stood Still - a real summer track - and if it had been released by someone 20 years younger, it would no doubt hit the top 10. It's got a chorus that you'll feel like you've heard before somewhere, but you can't quite put your finger on what other song it sounds like.
Father To Son is Grant singing to his little boy about moments spent with him that he wishes could last forever. "The chemistry has changed" could be about his son simply growing older and less dependent or could be related to time spent apart when away touring etc. It's a solid enough song and this track is missing from the basic 13-track CD, along with Counting Steps, which is an acoustic number with an opening reminiscent of High. Again it's a song about relationships "I wanna spend this life with you, there's nothing I would rather do". Those 2 songs are good, but maybe not as good as the rest of the album, I can see why they didn't make the basic version, but I still like them.
Silent In Space is another superb tune that could have been on a Feeder album and seems to be questioning why we're all here in this universe " a new universe will come, will all this be forgotten". The album ends with another Nick Drake sounding acoustic song Safe In Place that is kind of like the partner to Soul Mates in which the lines "I live for every beat of your heart", "I'm riding high on devotion" and "our souls belong together" can surely only be Grant declaring his love for his wife despite any ups and downs that they might have had over the years.
This album is a must for any Feeder fan, especially if you like the albums "Comfort In Sound" and "Silent Cry". Half the album is "classic Feeder" and the other half is Grant singing heartfelt acoustic songs about relationships, family and friends. This should be a number 1 album, but it will probably scrape into the top 20, as there's no justice. The artwork is all created by Grant's 9 year old daughter.
PS I have one gripe, and it's a gripe with Amazon, not the product. I bought the 15 track signed CD version, but the Autorip MP3 facility only gave me 13 tracks, so I had to "get" the other 2 tracks "Father To Son" and "Counting Steps" from Grant's VEVO youtube account. I didn't want to wait for the CD to arrive and then rip the 2 extra tracks.
brilliant but don't know if It was a mistake or luck of the draw but mine is the dbl lp pressed on white vinyl and signed on the front sleeve absolute bargain for £7+ the acoustic tracks come across like a mix of simon n Garfunkel crossed with the moody blues. I'm not a feeder fan apart from buck rogers but this album is simply superb... buy it in whatever format and enjoy
My first thoughts upon hearing that Grant Nicholas was releasing a solo album was, "whats the point? he writes all of feeders material anyway". i am very happy to say that i have never been so happy to be proven wrong, this is a wonderful album, and is without a doubt the work of a man who knows not to mess with his day job! does that mean that feeder fans wont like this? maybe, maybe not,i have been a fan of feeder since day one, have bought everything they have released and count them among my fave bands ever, as such i have seen their sound evolve over the years and i have found this album very enjoyable, but those hoping for more feeder, especially considering their last album was a return of sorts to their more rock orientated style might be a little underwhelmed by this very peaceful bit of work from Grant. this owes more to folk and simon and garfunkel than nirvana or the smashing pumpkins. that stall is set out nice and early with soul mates, which is just grant and a guitar and is easily one of the most peaceful and tranquil songs i have heard in years! what grant proceeds to do over the remaining 14 tracks is gently guide you through his thoughts with delightful melodies and stripped back instrumentation, the only time the pace lifts above a gentle stroll is on the jangly indoe pop of joan of arc. this is a great summer album, filled with gentle breezes and sunset songs. sit back and let Grant take you away for 45 minutes
Eagerly awaited this album since it was announced earlier this year. It has a nice stripped back sound that suits Grants voice perfectly, but still has a hint of Feeder to keep the band's fans happy. Stand out track for me is Time Stood Still :-D
Grant Nicholas (guitarist/singer for British band Feeder) really scales new heights of songwriting and musicianship with this, his first solo album. It's a wonderfully diverse and occasionally touching collection of acoustic-driven songs.
Anyone who enjoys Feeders mid-tempo songs or ballads will find plenty to savour on Yorktown Heights; as a general guide I'd say the songs range from Dove Grey Sands, through Children of the Sun, to Fires. Opening song "Soul Mates" and "Good Fortune Lies Ahead" are excellent examples of beautiful songs composed only of acoustic guitar and Grant's voice.
The production is also very good, with subtle sound effects and multi-layed vocals combining to make a beautiful soundscape, without being too over-the-top.
In sum, I'd unreservedly recommend this album to all Feeders fans, but also to anyone who enjoys well-crafted acoustic-driven music. To my ears this is the best collection of work Grant has ever produced, and picking up the deluxe version for the two additional tracks is well worth it.
I could never understand why Feeder weren't bigger than they were. Then I saw them live and the band were just loud and lacked charisma. Even so, Grant Nicholas is a gifted songwriter. He seems to be able to take three or four chords and make something special and different with them each time. And his voice is captivating. So it was all a bit odd. Then he tried to reinvent Feeder as Renegades. And I assumed this solo album would be another attempt to do the same, to escape the band's past and limited success. But why bother since he is to all intents and purposes the band: the voice, the guitarist and the songwriter? Well, this is the answer. In the sleeve notes he thanks [the inspiration of] 'Neil Young and Nick Drake... who helped me bare my soul and make this album.' And that's the key. This is an adult album by an experienced songwriter at the top of his form. The best lyrics are sad. His are. But the album is joyful. It's as if in Feeder he was trapped in a teenage incarnation. Here he has finally allowed himself to grow up. Fantastic. Have just got tickets to his solo gig. Can't wait.