The day has finally come. Since The Fragile destroyed my ears in late 1999, I have anxiously awaited Trent’s inevitable follow-up. Being a long time fan, this is even more exciting as it marks a new beginning of sorts for the “band.” With a new lineup of players and a return to songwritting as opposed to concept album developing, this record is definitely more accessible for the average listener. The Hand That Feeds has crossover appeal that makes me wonder how many fanboys will be yelling “sell-out” in their blogs after the official release.
Personally, I don’t care if it “sounds mainstream” since my personal rating system of music goes as follows. 1) Does it sound good to me? 2) Do I want to listen to it over and over again? So far, this album has scored a resounding yes for both. The leaked copies of Getting Smaller, The Hand that Feeds and The Line Begins to Blur are already past 30 plays in my iTunes database.
Also noteworthy on this disc is the presence of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) on half of the tracks doing drums. Trent described the collaboration as being “one of the most exhilarating experiences of [his] life.” Listening to them play together is comparably exhilarating from my perspective.
In short, I have a new favorite album. Even if you don’t like their previous work, you should at least listen to this disc once through. You will be caught off guard by the diversity of style and sound and tone. The best news I’ve heard all year was that the next album will be released in “a timely fashion” according to Trent. One can only assume that this would infer a post tour recording blitz and a follow up in early 2006. We can only hope…