Don't call it a comeback, apparently. Feed first began playing back in
the Nirvana days, but took a decade or so to get around to committing
themselves to record. The end result sounds like a band straddling Seattle
and the Southwest, an inchoate project that drowns in its belatedness.
Adam Perry's voice has a throttled brokenness to it, like Will
Johnson from Centromatic with a bit more razor wire around
the edges. It takes some settling in to, but eventually its hobbled earnestness
and sloppy delivery give the band an attention getter they might not otherwise
have. A few songs depart from the sooty rock formula and gain a small
measure of listening traction. "Hell To Pay" wraps a blistering
guitar riff around vocals fed through rusty plumbing and drums that pound
out in a slow threat. The darker pace and feedback make for a harder,
less difficult to pigeonhole sound. "Dream Job For A Good Girl"
displays a talent for straight-up good songwriting, with the cheeky hilarity
of a line like "maybe someday she'll get a good job/ selling shoes
to amputees" embedded in a scuffed up love song that stripped
down to its acoustic bones. I also give them props for managing to seamlessly
slip in a reference to a donkey sex show in Mexico.
Snagging Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse) to
produce the effort gives the album a guitar layered heft that doesn't
quite salvage what amounts to an average modern rock album with an unlozenged
vocalist. There are moments, like "Out Of The Sky" where the
music apes much of what was forgettable about dozens of early '90s modern
rock outfits: distorted loudness, buried riffs, and enough appropriate
sensitivity to distinguish it from cock rock. That they first formed in
Seattle in the early '90s before shelving Feed for various side projects
only lends biographical credence to what is already sonically evident
in a sound that really never escapes its own ossification. It's not grunge,
per se, but they certainly owe those bands an unsavory debt without stealing
any vitality to compensate for it.
Indeed, Ek's presence only highlights the band's lack of distinction against
the backdrop of his resume. Feed essentially make standard pop on the
rocks, a well preened bar band that probably deserve steady pub residencies
on their home turf. Feed are like a jam session between Cracker and Ryan
Adams, though any country influence is so muted and pastel as to be nearly
irrelevant. If that alchemy of the mediocrities excites you, then you
should probably just ignore my review entirely. These guys are by no means
untalented hacks, but there's a musical derivation that's undeniable and
a sound that just clearly isn't.
1. Ginger-haired Girl
2. I Love You My Dear, And How
3. The Big Dope
4. Dream Job For A Good Girl
5. Policeman's Bar-B-Cue
6. Hell To Pay
7. Nearly Deafening
9. Cop Car Coming
10. Out Of The Sky
11. Shake Like It's Winter
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