Jonathan Gooch has never been one to worry about the status quo. After transitioning from drum & bass as Spor, Gooch, or more commonly known as his present stage name, Feed Me, experienced blistering acclaim for his high energy mix of electro house and dubstep. When he released Feed Me’s Big Adventure in 2011, fans were immediately enamored by the little green alien who would be the mascot for the project as well as the innovative and engaging music he produced.
Fast forward ten years, and Feed Me has released another more album, five or so EPs, and countless singles among then-and-again appearances as Spor on lineups, and he’s not even close to done yet. In fact, his third and most recent album, out today, the self-titled Feed Me, is his most ambitious and best work to date.
Fans received the one and only single, “Reckless” with favorite collaborator Tasha Baxter, earlier this week before the album simply sprang upon us. And from the very first track, it’s clear that Feed Me has a story to tell.
“Big Kitten” begins with guttural bass, suspenseful synth and strings, and thunderous kicks. The first forty or so seconds are as in-your-face, here-it-comes, you-aren’t-ready-for-this as it gets, and it only gets better as an “Imperial March”-esque melody comes into play. Lightly modulated with added noise so that when the big drop comes, and you can feel in you bones that it will be big, it erupts into the real beginning of Feed Me with a, “Alright, check this.”
No doubt this will be the song that you show your friends in the car when they hand you the aux and say, “Play me something new.” But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you stopped at just the first explosive song, or even just the first half of the first song.
“Blanket Ban” doubles down on this gritty Feed Me style that he does so well with a punk-goes-EDM energy that is absolutely electrifying. Distorted guitar licks fed through what can only be so many amps and effects pedals gives way to a pulsating beat that is underscored by a harrowing, noisy synth line and followed up by a tantalizing melody. The way that it continually builds upon itself until it collapses under its own weight and leads back to the original melody is textbook songwriting, but Feed Me does it in a way that feels so fresh and exciting that the basic becomes the extraordinary.
After that comes the one and only single, “Reckless,” and then the bewildering “Cost a Fiver Had a Tenner.” After the first three tracks, this one really comes out of nowhere with its off-kilter rhythm and heavy distortion. Even as it gets weirder and weirder, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the progression, like watching two people fight in a convenience store over the last Twinkie on the shelf, wondering what’s going to happen next. But as a detectable melody comes into play, the song begins to transform itself until it slows to an absolute drawl.
And then. The guitar. And the drums. And the slowly and ever increasing tempo. And it builds and builds and builds and builds until it breaks out into a ferocious breakdown that no one sees coming. And then it ends. And on to the next track we go.
Keep in mind we’re only at track four at this point, and the album has already run the gamut on Feed Me’s styles past and present, and probably future while we’re at it. One of the things that Feed Me does so well is in the way it subverts expectation but always stays close to a recognizable pattern. The songs begin one way and it’s somewhat predictable and you can tell how it’s going, and then he adds, whether it’s one little element or multiple, something else, some spice that mixes things up. A melody here, a synth effect there, a key change, whatever it is, he keeps the listener on their toes.
Another of the more peculiar songs on the album comes at track 8, “Frank Frazetta.” Who is Frank? Who cares. But it’s a housey, bouncy, electrifying track that feels like a portal back to Eptic’s 2014 The End EP and we’re absolutely here for it.
Having listened to Feed Me religiously since his debut in 2011, this self-titled album could not be a more perfect representation of his endless pursuit of the weird and wild. It twists and turns like the most cerebral of M. Night Shyamalan films, it diverts your attention and slaps you in the face like the most uncouth sideshow artist, and at times, it gets to the heart like the most poignant of stories.
Safe to say, wherever this album goes, we are happy to follow. Listen to Feed Me below.