In a year that showed the band great misfortune, the fact that Feeder's fourth album Comfort In Sound is as good as it is seems almost too much to ask. Faced with the untimely passing of founding member and drummer Jon Lee last holiday season, frontman/guitarist Grant Nicolas and bassist Taka Hirose took stock of where they were, summoned incredible emotional fortitude, roped in longtime friend and ex-Skunk Anansie skinsman Mark Richardson to play in Lee's stead (but not replace him, as no one could do that to their brother), and recorded an album with Gil Norton of Pixies and Foo Fighters knob-twiddling fame. The result: an album that finds the Londoners further along in their ascension to what should only rightly end in alt-rock superstardom. Comfort In Sound finds the band doing what they do best, mixing thrashy, hook-laden jams like first single "Come Back Around" and "Godzilla" (aimed at their burgeoning Japanese fanbase, perhaps?), with string-filled ballads and heart-wrenching tunes just aching to be banged on US radio, like album opener "Just The Way I'm Feeling" and the album's title track. At some point, some programmers will see the myriad possibilities that this trio offer, with more quality in one album than many of their contemporaries have had in their career, and get off their asses and add this band. It's not often you find a band that writes hooks and catchy as these and pairs it with the old-school notion that being a frontman involves singing, not screaming. The bottom line is this: it's about time the US public got more than just a taste of Feeder.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN