Slowly disappearing off into the tributaries of lesser success, away from the mainstream glories of the mid-noughties, Feeder’s quiet retreat at the tail end of 2012 caused few ripples. Frontman and songwriter Grant Nicholas opts for a similarly gentle return here, on his first solo release.
On record as wanting to emulate and connect with the 60s/70s acoustic-based artists of his youth, this is an unassuming and relatively stripped-down affair. Almost entirely mid-paced, perhaps unsurprisingly it’s the full band songs with choppier verses and larger chorus hooks (ie Feeder-like) that are most successful.
Hope, Robots and Vampires in particular show unmistakable flashes of craft and flair, the latter discreetly nodding to career high-spot Feeling A Moment. The starker tracks have something of a studied whimsy to them, and while at no point is there any actual whistling or a ukulele, there’s a nagging feeling the zeitgeist is being chased rather than set – an area where Nicholas has some form (see 1998’s High with Oasis’s Wonderwall). Not that this is of any great concern, mind you. What is, more pressingly, is that the line where understatement becomes underwhelming is all too often crossed.