Feeder Echo Park, 2001, Echo Records
Standing on the Edge
Piece by Piece
Seven Days in the Sun
We Can't Rewind
Tell All Your Friends
Under the Weather
Feeder were formed in 1994 in the town of Newport in south Wales. They went through a number of line ups and name changes but were eventually named Feeder after lead singer Grant Nicholas’ pet goldfish. Echo Park was their third album and the one that propelled them to mainstream commercial success, charting at number 5.
With its heavy synths, Standing on the Edge starts the album off with a dreamy quality, it’s still rocky but somehow a bit off kilter. Buck Rogers, the band’s first successful single, made famous from being shouted by festival audiences for years and years feels just as anthemic here as it does live. Piece by Piece though is a far more interesting song. It starts with faltering drums which lead in to a beautifully melancholic and melodic song which unexpectedly draws you in, it shows Feeder are just as good at this as at the crowd-pleasers. By contrast second single release Seven Days in the Sun despite being much rockier is lyrically very frothy and light like the holiday it’s describing, We Can't Rewind is the weakest track so far, despite the strong rhythm section it somehow feels ponderous. Turn also seems reedy and weak in the vocal. Choke is angry, sexy and dirty but manages to raise the game again. Oxygen is another calmer, more melancholy track. The drums are strong on Tell All Your Friends although overall it’s not the most memorable track. Under the Weather is an ode to a hangover, which is surprising since it’s so loud, it’s great though, even if it’s not exactly lyrical poetry Satellite News is another forgettable slower song, the vocal is nice though. Bug is much better, ending the album on a loud, frenetic, punky note.
While it’s a slightly hit and miss album, the better songs are really great with plenty of good hooks and it shows the range of the band, it also shows that they were perfectly capable of melancholy before their next album, Comfort in Sound. Just months after Echo Park’s release, drummer Jon Lee died by suicide and much of Comfort in Sound was written in reaction to this.
Feeder remain successful, especially in Japan having managed to find a sound that still has wide appeal, and although they have matured both lyrically and sonically on their subsequent albums, Echo Park should not be overlooked in favour of the albums that followed it. Feeder continue to be a British rock institution. They have even appeared on a celebrity special edition of Bargain Hunt, which surely means they are ingrained in the national psyche.