When a band release a ‘best of’, a crossroads is reached. If, as in Feeder’s case, the decision is taken to press on then another junction comes in to view just as fast – do they stick to their guns or branch out in a new direction?
It won’t surprise you to learn they choose the former, as Feeder have always been a band to express their emotions directly, with little fuss or layers of pretension. This time Grant Nicholas feels sufficiently comfortable with their sound to produce the album himself.
The decision pays dividends. Whereas in previous albums the band were given too much polish and too big a string section for the more emotive, heart on sleeve numbers, Nicholas brings back some of the rock, reintroducing an edge not felt for some time.
Crucially there’s some upbeat, poppier numbers to balance the familiar strength-in-depth ballads that crossed them into the big time. As a result, Tracing Lines and Space are the picks of the album, the latter making you sit up with its backing vocal “I’ll never give you up”, while the former proclaims “today’s the day I’ve found a new way out, set my spirit free”.
Such words come like a breath of fresh air after the first three tracks, where Feeder set out their stall of previous successes, and Nicholas talks about “coming around again” – again – in Miss You. Tracing Lines blows that open, and the rest of the album is placed in a wider context as a result.
The inner strength Feeder have previously exploited in their music remains, though occasionally Nicholas hints at a vulnerability in his open lyrics, often marrying his own feelings with current world issues. This doesn’t make Silent Cry a political record, but it does bring the band bang up to date with all that’s happened while they’ve been away.
The confidence of a band that took over a year to record the album is notable, and theirs is an assured voice. Since their Seven Days In The Sun the band have endured seven years of relative turmoil, but the signs here are that they’re emerging with heads held high. Theirs might not be the most original voice, but there’s no doubting a Feeder record when you hear it – the sound of a band taking on their sensitive side, and winning.