Formed by guitarist and vocalist Grant Nicholas, bassist Taka Hirose and drummer Jon Lee in Newport in 1994, Feeder have risen gradually, unspectacularly and consistently to become one of the biggest success stories of Britain’s alternative rock generation.
Shaking off the initial 'British Smashing Pumpkins' tag that followed them around at the outset of their career, Nicholas' band mixed bubblegum pop-rock, soaring, stadium-ready post-grunge anthems and bruised, aching songs of love and loss to trememdous effect, picking up hit singles and albums, going on arena filling tours and headlining the main stage at the Download Festival in the process.
With 11 studio albums to their name, they possess a treasure trove of brilliant songs for new fans to discover: here are the five best Feeder albums to start that journey.
Metal Hammer’s album of 1997, yes, really, Feeder’s debut album Polythene remains their finest moment in the eyes of many fans. A continuation of the riffy alt-rock of their Swim EP, but with even better songs, the likes of My Perfect Day, Cement and Radiation all still sound glorious over a quarter of a century since its release. It wasn’t an immediate hit - the inclusion of Top 30 hit single High on the re-released version of the album was the thing that finally gave Feeder some well-deserved mainstream attention - but, despite its meagre chart position, Polythene sounds like the ultimate post-grunge album.
Echo Park (2001)
If 1999’s Yesterday Went Too Soon gave Feeder their first UK top 10 album and a few low-charting singles, Echo Park was the first record that really propelled the band into the upper echelons of the UK rock scene. The album was mostly driven by the success of lead single Buck Rogers, which remains their most well-known song, but the recruitment of R.E.M./Pixies/Foo Fighters producer Gil Norton to get the most out of songs showed Feeder were aiming for the highest highs, and helped this collection of instantaneous pop rock nuggets to achieve platinum status in the UK.
Comfort in Sound (2002)
Following the tragic passing of much-loved drummer Jon Lee at the very start of 2002, Nicholas and Hirose regrouped and recorded arguably their most personal and emotionally open album. Never strangers to expressing feelings of melancholy, Comfort in Sound is steeped in sadness and longing for their lost band mate; the title track, Summer’s Gone, Just the Way I’m Feeling and lead single Come Back Around all beautifully tug at the heartstrings without ever explicitly mentioning Lee. The band could take some comfort in the success of the album; they were nominated for a BRIT award in 2004 and it remains their biggest-selling record.
After a pair of records, 2005’s Pushing the Senses and 2008’s Silent Cry, that burrowed further down the more mainstream route that Feeder had mined with great success on Comfort in Sound, there were more than a few older Feeder fans who weren’t so keen on the easily-made comparisons with the likes of Snow Patrol and Coldplay. Renegades might not have been a commercial smash for the band, but it certainly upped the energy and was far more reminiscent of the band's earlier material. Fuzzy, power-pop banger Call Out remains a lost gem of a single and Sentimental, White Lines and Barking Dogs all ride along on brilliantly scratchy riffs.
Their mainstream success years may have been behind them as the 2010’s came into sharp focus, but in the aftermath of Renegades, Feeder carried on releasing highly enjoyable records throughout the decade. 2019’s Tallulah felt like they were getting back to something within touching distance of career-best form, and they finally delivered their best album in nearly two decades with 2022’s Torpedo, their eleventh album. With the massive, arena-ready When It All Breaks Down, the gorgeous dream-pop of Hide and Seek, the alt-rock riffing of Decompress and the title track, it feels like all the best bits of Feeder’s career in a microcosm, and offers a timely reminder of the fact that, at their best, this is a truly fantastic band.