Review Summary: careful what you wish for.
I’m certain Renegades
is supposed to appeal to someone but I can’t think who. I think it’s supposed to be me; I was one of those fussy diehards just longing for Feeder to roll back the years and create another Polythene
or Echo Park
, records that plugged in and rocked out but didn’t forget their pop priorities.
The real problem is that those punk-y diehards, yours truly included, have been saying this since Comfort In Sound
and their reward has come three records down the line. Now it’s hard for them to know if they want that group of kids in their life because seeing them grow up has been half the fun of being their fan. For all the complaining, records from Comfort In Sound
onwards were the band’s truest accomplishments because they showed a maturing band, a group responding to tragedy and producing songs that weren’t just about getting laid or installing cup-holders into the glove department of their car. The sentimentality of each record was startling and the balladry that accompanied it proved that the band needed their emotion on the surface of things. And tracks such as “Miss You” and “Just The Way I’m Feeling” were the result.
the band hold true to their word and create that record of high-voltage, no-frills punk rock, whatever you want to call it; it just isn’t sappy and sad, and that’s by their design. But fans will rue the day they made that pledge, because this isn’t Feeder anymore. It was Feeder nine years ago, granted, but now each track sounds like a shell of what it should be. By definition, Renegades
is supposed to be a raw interpretation of Grant Nicholas’ and co, with each song left in its skin and dressed up none. But raw musicianship isn’t raw Feeder, and less certainly isn’t more: tracks such as “This Town” and “Barking Dogs” fall flat on their face because they emulate the glory days more than they speak for themselves, and a lot has happened since the glory days. With one member now missing from the original line-up, the grungy fuzz and the attitude that goes with it is simply unbearable when it comes from the band we’ve had develop feeling and understanding, and the fact that they can’t channel these things into their old sound is probably the most devastating conclusion to make from Renegades
. It acts simply to show us what cannot be done.
Even with its eleven tracks, only one needs to be looked at to draw the line in Feeder’s career at 2010. “Call Out” takes the crown on Renegades
at least statistically (it's the best-bet single, you could say) but it sounds like a crushed version of “Miss You,” the same for its musical structure but having the feeling made naked. Now thought and feeling isn’t important to Feeder, which is what every fan wanted; another rendition of “Buck Rodgers” to pump up and down to. But we could still do this with “Miss You,” and if we hadn’t been bitching and moaning we sure would’ve. On “Call Out,” Nicholas describes the very song he is singing as invincible: “You can’t take that away.” So much for the song – give me the words any day.