Listening to: Feeder, Comfort in Sound

Feeder Comfort in Sound

This is such a fantastic listen, it’s hard to know where to begin. Feeder are a British rock band that has been around since 1992. Originally from South Wales, they released 2 EPs and 3 albums between 1995 and 2001. Just as they were starting to experience their first true UK national successes (good album reviews, playing at Glastonbury, etc.), their drummer committed suicide in his Miami home.

This has unfortunately become the pivot around which their next album has been reviewed almost everywhere. The consensus of both the press and the usual suspects online was that Comfort in Sound was a great record, focused and somber – a reflexive work about their relationship with Jon, their own mortality, their coming-to-terms with his death. It was viewed as a sort of therapy CD for the remaining two, now teamed up with a new drummer who had previously drummed for Skunk Anansie.

I think Comfort in Sound is a truly mature artist statement of an excellent songwriter, someone whose influences revolve around ‘Britpop,’ Pixies, Nirvana, U2’s last 2 albums, maybe Bob Mould/Sugar… Feeder sound not unlike a non-swaggering Oasis, or maybe a bit like Snow Patrol does today (but with punchier guitars).

Comfort in sound | It’s all around | Ease back the strain | Come heal your pain | Comfort in sound | It’s all around you now

Prior to this album, Feeder’s work had been mostly about the music. Their lyrics had been lightweight, often nonsensical (like the breakthrough single ‘Buck Rogers’ from the previous album). Now, there was some weight and depth to their songs, not just musically but also in the lyrics.

Close your eyes and drift away to some place new | Where the skies are blue brings back the child in you | Cross a lonely field as birds begin to speak | It’s alright | It’s ok

Poetic masterworks these are not. Heartfelt, sincere and maybe a little lost might better describe these songs.

I’ve heard people say that Feeder sounds derivative, “like everything else out there these days.” I think they’ve reached, in their last two albums, a close-to-perfect synthesis of what makes more traditionally oriented rock music great today. Sure, it’s an idiom rooted in the 90s and not the 21st century. But it’s great music, and Comfort in Sound‘s wall of sound can make your head buzz and your heart sing.

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