The anthemic triple whammy of Echo Park, Comfort in Sound, and Pushing the Senses saw Welsh rock stalwarts Feeder threaten to break into the big league, but 2008's distinctly average Silent Cry and 2010's rough-and-ready Renegades seemed to suggest their stadium-chasing ambitions were all but over. Their momentum now gone, eighth studio album Generation Freakshow is unlikely to restore them to their former chart glories, but it's a record that proves Grant Nicholas' ear for a rousing melody hasn't deserted him just yet. Lead single "Borders" combines Kings of Leon-style ad libs with a Killers-esque blue-collar rock chorus to produce arguably their most shoutable singalong since "Buck Rogers"; the chiming riffs, melancholic harmonies, and emotionally charged lyrics of closing number "Children of the Sun" help to provide a classic "lighters in the air" Feeder ballad; while Smashing Pumpkins fans unconvinced by their current incarnation could do worse than check out the blistering early-'90s-inspired grunge-pop of "Idaho," "Tiny Minds," and the title track, the latter of which sounds like the Daleks from Doctor Who have stumbled across a copy of Siamese Dream. The stale indie of "Hey Johnny" and the dreary sludge rock of "Fools Can't Sleep" perhaps explain their perennial second-tier status, while the riotous punk of "Headstrong" and the mosh pit-inducing "In All Honesty" feel like they belong to a different album altogether. But indicative of their tenacious 21-year career, Generation Freakshow is still an impressive return to form from a band whose members sound revitalized and determined to prove they're not a spent force.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien