Synopsis: Renegades is the seventh full-length studio album from Feeder. It was recorded in Monnow Valley Studios and The Crypt. All songs were written by Grant Nicholas. The album was produced by Grant Nicholas and Matt Sime. It was released on Monday 5th July 2010 on Big Teeth Music. Click here for more album information.
‘Renegades’ is the first part of two albums, with the second due for release sometime in the next twelve months.
On first listen, the album gleefully threatens to take Feeder back to their routes – Grant and company may be older, but they still know where the volume is on your stereo. In the ‘Renegades’ reality of things, ‘Pushing The Senses’ never happened, and as Feeder’s brief name change alluded to, newer fans may struggle to recognise this as the same band.
But ‘Renegades’ goes even further than that. This is far from a simple recreation of Feeder’s early material, doing away with much of the content that made Feeder in any way mainstream and opting almost completely for a newer, edgier, punk record.
Fans of Feeder’s usual diversity may be disappointed. ‘Renegades’ is truly one dimensional, making its bed quickly then sleeping in it for the duration. There’s a slight rest bite about half-way through with ‘Down to the River’; essentially an acoustic track with some heavy guitar shredding thrown in for continuity, but the rest of the album is all about gritty guitars, meaty rifts and questionable lyrics.
And it’s lyrics that seem to be plaguing the ‘Renegades’ review scores. No fewer than five tracks come in for criticism; predictable, unimaginative and at times nonsensical. The worst offenders are ‘City in a Rut’ and ‘Call Out’, but there are several other cringe-worthy moments, too. ‘Left Foot Right’ and ‘This Town’ are victims, but if you can ignore the silly bits then these are two of the finest songs Grant has written in the past ten years.
The negatives end there - and even then they’re not an album breaker. Yes, some of the lyrics are bad, but they’re delivered with an uncaring confidence reminiscent of the best punk/rock albums of the past 25 years. ‘Renegades’ isn’t about conforming and Grant can sing about whatever he bloody well likes.
‘Renegades’ shines brightest during the opening stages. ‘White Lines’ is a tremendous introduction to Feeder’s new dark side, packaging all the new gritty bits together with their patented fast-slow-fast dynamic. This is expanded on with the title track, which just so happens to be the album’s finest moment, and unquestionably so.
‘Renegades’ (the song) seems to benefit from bigger and better production to the rest of the album. It’s no surprise that it has had so much built around it, from the album itself to the band’s temporary name change – at its foundations is the strongest song Grant has written since Shatter.
If anything, ‘Renegades’ stands out a little too much. The rest of the album doesn’t dip in quality, but it doesn’t quite reach the same heights again. ‘Sentimental’, ‘Barking Dogs’ and ‘Home’ represent all the neglected B-Sides we’ve been crying out for in the past 10 years, and thrilling album closer ‘The End’ mixes up Feeder’s penchant for big festival tunes with the ‘Renegades’ adrenalin rush.
At under 40 minutes in length, ‘Renegades’ never outstays its welcome. It’s not got the depth of Comfort In Sound or the instant accessibility of Echo Park, but what Renegades does, it does well; a quick fix of old school gratification - short, fast and entertaining. Feeder are back, and they’ve brought 1997 with them.