Yesterday Went Too Soon

Just before he died, [a]Kurt Cobain[/a] made a habit of wearing a T-shirt stating [B]'Grunge Is Dead'[/B]....

Just before he died, [a]Kurt Cobain[/a] made a habit of wearing a T-shirt stating ‘Grunge Is Dead’. Ironically, and no doubt unintentionally, by taking his own life he helped ensure the very opposite was true. Grunge was very much still alive and kicking, albeit past its sell-by date, and a tiresome rehash of its noisy past.

Luckily, only America is still hung up on some notion of grunge as a memorial to Cobain. Any British band still obsessed with the genre was obliged by law to jump on the first plane across the Atlantic and find (usually massive) success there. So you had Bush. You had Spacehog. And now Feeder are the next obvious emigrants.

Thing is, they’re not willing to give up on us as quickly as we are to let them go. They haven’t completely abandoned the route to US fame, but they refuse to head there directly. This means this second album is something of a paradox. It certainly fulfils all the criteria required of an American grunge favourite (noisy guitars, lyrics about pain and longing, and a singer with nice cheekbones and a fondness for roaring), and a cursory glance at the song titles proves this isn’t Supergrass: ‘Insomnia’, ‘Anaesthetic’, ‘Hole In My Head’, to name but a few. Indeed the overall impression is that frontman Grant Nicholas is not a happy man. The world, you see, is a horrible place. No-one cares because they’re all too busy and the only way to sleep at night is by getting drunk. Woe is me, we’re all going to rot in hell. Etc.

But it’s not always so simple. Occasionally Feeder sound [I]nothing like Bush at all[/I]. Honestly. In fact, they more closely resemble Radiohead‘s atmospherics coupled with the prickly guitars of Placebo and these finally provide an opportunity for Grant to show he’s not all frowns and sixth-form poetry. Behind all that is the sort of sulky, husky voice only dangerous quantities of cigarettes and testosterone can bring. It transforms songs like the gorgeously epic title track, the moody Eels-like ‘Day In Day Out’, and the fragmented whisper of ‘Tinsel Town’, revealing a far more intriguing band than the one betrayed by the grunge-by-numbers tracks that fill space here. Feeder merely need the guts to realise themselves.

Until then, this buys a little more time. No need for them to head to Heathrow just yet, then.