Released in the wake of drummer Jon Lee's tragic suicide, Feeder's last release, the unsurprisingly emotionally driven Comfort in Sound, may have alienated their early Kerrang! metalhead audience, but after plugging away on the British pub rock circuit for several years, it pushed them closely toward the kind of arena rock territory occupied by the likes of U2 and Coldplay. After supporting Chris Martin and company on their European tour, the Welsh three-piece's fourth studio album, which features a track with Parachutes producer Ken Nelson at the helm (the melancholic piano-led ballad "Frequency"), shows that the sellout accusations hurled at them since their commercial breakthrough haven't scared them off from attempting to compete with the big boys. But apart from the crunching guitar chorus of lead single "Tumble and Fall" (a ham-fisted pastiche of "The Scientist") and the uplifting "Feeling a Moment," which has since become a ubiquitous football montage soundtrack, Pushing the Senses doesn't appear to be as concerned with anthemic indie as its predecessor. Apparently inspired by the simplicity of John Lennon's piano-based songs, the wistful sweet melodies of "Tender" and the string-soaked "Pain on Pain" could indeed have been lifted from his seminal Imagine album, but elsewhere, Gil Norton's production owes more to the Americana rock of bands like Monster-era R.E.M. (the blistering title track), the Flaming Lips (the swoon-some dream pop closer "Dove Grey Sands"), and Grandaddy (the haunting spacy "Bitter Glass"). The thrashing rock of "Pilgrim Soul" may briefly appease fans of their earlier grungier material, but on the whole, Pushing the Senses is an introspective and understated affair that unashamedly embraces their newfound mature sensibilities. ~ Jon O'Brien
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