Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Feeder - Renegades (Big Teeth)

A new Feeder album round these parts often involves a ticker tape parade, or at the very least, the popping/unscrewing of an own-brand bottle of something fizzy. However, their last offering, 2008’s Silent Cry, was arguably the most disappointing of their career – so with the release of seventh studio album Renegades, you’ll forgive us for not having a bottle on ice just yet.

Thankfully, it’s not too far into the record that the promise of greatness makes itself evident – to an extent, anyway. While the solid crunches of opener White Lines, or Sentimental’s effective mix of quiet brooding and commanding, concentrated bass prove Feeder can lead a moshpit with little effort, nothing is on a par with the strong, spritely immediacy of lead single Call Out.

Still, the barbed ballad Down By The River carries the faint air of a Seattle-esque, early 90s lament, and joins Turn, Oxygen and Paperfaces as a demonstration of a band whose downtempo, emotional numbers often outshine the vigorous rock they’re more associated with.

Intelligent lickwork and riffs-a-plenty; that invaluable knack for a killer melody; and Grant Nicholas’ vocals continue to strike a remarkable balance of masculine and tender – it's got all the key ingredients. And for the most part, the results are of a high calibre, but there are instances where things just fall short of the required level of awesome.

A scarily-high number of tracks come equipped with spoken word verses, meaning the Renegades listening experience is sorely peppered with cringes, best displayed on This Town. It's not necessarily bad, as such, but it's just not Feeder – or at the very least, not something that 2010 Feeder can, or should even try to, pull off.

But kudos for the attempt, if nothing else. Renegades is, on all levels, a far more accomplished, brave and stylised album than the beige, uninspired safety of Silent Cry. Feeder’s track record proves they are a band who can assault the airwaves, turn the layman into a front-room mosher, and have festival crowds eating out of the palm of their hand. And while Renegades may not underline this aspect of the band too fervently, it’s certainly a step back towards it, and once again being the Feeder they’re more than capable of being.

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