Feeder - Renegades
Instead of just retreating to the studio and recording a follow up to 2008’s disappointing Silent Cry, Feeder decided to re-brand themselves completely as Renegades for two tours and two EPs leaving fans confused as to what the future held. They’re clearly not a band who do things by half and the resultant album, Renegades, is definitely the sound of a band not doing things by half. More of a back to their roots album than a completely new musical direction, this is easily the band’s finest effort since Echo Park.
‘White Lines’ sets out Feeder’s revival early on; gone are the MOR bores of Silent Cry to be replaced with a heavy bass, pounding drum beat and distorted vocals. As solid as an opener it is though, the album ratches up several notches with recent single ‘Call Out’ which takes all of the elements of before and adds a ferociously fast tempo just for good measure. It also deploys one of the catchiest choruses since ‘Buck Rogers’ that will have you following Grant’s lyrical instructions by the end of the first verse – “If you wanna hear this song / You won’t have to wait too long / You just call out all night”.
The combination of heavy riffs and fast tempo is one that repeated throughout the album and while it could have been in danger of becoming tiresome and repetitive, they have enough in their locker to ensure that no track ends up sounding the same: ‘Sentimental’ has an excellent hard and soft dynamic and ‘City In A Rut’ is a track that you could skank too - albeit with a bit of head banging thrown in. By far and away the highlight of the album though is ‘Left Foot Right’ which has a massive, crunching riff that floors you on first listen and it’s an impact that isn’t diminished by repeat listens. It’s all accompanied with Grant’s vocals which lose none of their raw intensity amongst all brutal noises being created by bassist Taka and drummer Karl.
However, it’s not a flawless combination and ‘This Town’ is the clearest example of its potential failure, being the only track to bring back bad memories of the workmanlike efforts of Silent Cry. It starts promisingly and threatens to explode after a muted intro but never quite does, although it should be applauded for being a credible use of finger clicks. The flipside of that is ‘Barking Dogs’ which barely lets the previous track finish before exploding into life but, at just over two minutes, it doesn’t really hang around long enough to make an impression and ends up sounding like a bridge between the two tracks around it.
They squeeze 11 tracks into 35 minutes and five minutes of those are taken by the obligatory epic: ‘Down By The River’ is a beautiful track which acts as the mid-way breather between two hard-hitting sides of the album with Grant’s vocals taking complete centre stage for the only time on the album and, although it suffers a little by bringing back memories of ‘Feeling The Moment’ with its “wooo” refrain, the final guitar solo can’t fail to stir emotions.
More of this variety would have resulted in practically a perfect modern UK rock album but, as it is, Renegades is still an extremely strong, enjoyable work from a band that sound like they just had fun when recording it. It’s an album that would sound loud even on mute which will be welcomed from the old school Feeder fans from the Swim era as well as bringing them a whole new set of fans appreciative of great rock music. Grant asks “Is this the end of the road?” on track closer ‘The End’ and it’s safe to say that while Silent Cry might have been a dead end, Renegades is anything but a road block.