Feeder – Renegades (Big Teeth) 05/07/2010

July 21, 2010 by  

Feeder have always been a bit of a hit and miss band, unsure of whether to retain their Brit Rock credentials or to conform to mainstream expectations.

It started brightly for these young Welsh upstarts with classic indie anthem ‘Buck Rogers’ and the scuzz rock goodness of ‘Just A Day’, with its infamous fans video. They even won a Best British Live Act award, but it seems an overwhelming desire to become more mature and polished has hindered their credibility.

Tragedy struck the band when drummer Jon Lee died in 2002 .The resulting album that the band had been working on ‘Comfort in Sound’ became a tribute but despite its leading single ‘Come Back Around’ which was as good a comeback song as any the remainder of the album was soaked in strings and be it the subject matter that was holding them down or just a loss of direction it all just sounded so morbid and unadventurous.

2005’s ‘Pushing the Senses’ pushed them further into the MOR abyss – it was almost like majorly produced orchestration had become a part of them and there was no way back. In what could be seemed as a drastic attempt to retain former glory they put out ‘The Singles’, but it mainly consisted of newer material which wasn’t of interest. Their last album in 2008, ‘Silent Cry’ didn’t even grace the charts and its singles received little or no airplay.

In an attempt to recognise this in 2010, Feeder have taken on a new identity a side project, Renegades ‘the band within Feeder’ so the band says, which is where the album title stems from. The band have stated that Renegades will be one of two albums released this year, but is this a last throw of the dice or a calculated comeback to revert to days of old?

Lead track ‘White Lines’ is an explosive opener with its propulsive drums and meaty riffs and signals its intentions with no orchestra in sight, instead it’s an altogether heavier direction. ‘Call Out’ continues on this path, with its urgent cry to their previous fanbase to not lose faith, in the hope that they will realise their misdirection was a temporary blip.

Title track ‘Renegades’ is also a riff heavy track and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on their first releases – now it just sounds too desperate. It’s these riffs on each track that gradually grate on the listener and almost are used to complete the unfinished tracks. Thankfully, the tracks are short.

Things go rapidly downhill with the pedestrian rock of ‘Home’, with its nonsensical lyrical refrain of ‘I know you like it like that’ which is at once forgettable. Do they actually think that they still have something to say?

The lyrics remain a major issue, it’s almost like they cut and pasted them with a complete disregard of how they actually sound.

If only I would have stopped listening by the time the god awful ‘Left Foot Right’ (as if the title wouldn’t be enough warning) began with its crass lyrics ‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’. Never a truer word spoken. However this is nothing compared to the abomination that is ‘City in a Rut’ with its ‘Running on a Bus’ line now they are law enforcers, but I thought they were a rock band. What’s going on?

Album closer ‘The End’ pretty much sums up the band’s current status. In the musical climate it’s not hard to agree when Grant wails ‘Is This the End of the Road’. I’m afraid so chaps, with aimless material like this.

Whilst I applaud the band doing away with the major produced orchestral sound and reverting back to their rock roots, of which the first two tracks show promise, It seems that this has come too late and the music scene has progressed somewhat since then. Short of a major reinvention for the next release, this album might have just rendered them as irrelevant.

[Rating:1.5]


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