For a band who have been in and out of the limelight since 2001’s fantastic Echo Park catapulted them to fame with ‘Buck Rogers’, Feeder have a surprising amount of energy.
With previous album Silent Cry not getting the sales the band’s label, Echo, had hoped, it proved to be the beginning of the end for them, as it was announced in 2008 they were being restructured into a “copyright exploitation” company, according to a report from parent company Chrysalis Group.
The band then lost fill-in drummer Mark Richardson to a Skunk Anansie reunion in 2009, and he was replaced by Karl Brazil as the band began the most bold step in their career.
Since they had no UK label, they decided to create one themselves and thus Big Teeth Music was born. Soon Feeder announced they were returning not as Feeder but as Renegades, a side project-cum-masquerade which allowed them to blame live without everyone expecting all of Feeder’s chart-topping hits.
Renegades did a six date tour of intimate shows and released a four track EP, which was quickly followed by another tour of slightly larger venues and a follow-up EP. Disclaimers at the events stated Feeder wouldn’t be playing their popular hits and if fans were unaware of this they could have a full refund, as it turned out the gigs were a massive success (check out my review of the Camden show) and the band announced shortly afterwards they would return as Feeder with their seventh studio album: Renegades.
The album is a furious attack of all Feeder’s raw energy and passion, which translates into some pretty heavy music. Fans of tunes like ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ and ‘Forget About Tomorrow’ will be lost here, this album is loud and relentless – the closest thing to a slow song is the slightly haunting ‘Down By The River’.
The songs from the two Renegades EPs are dotted around the album, with the title track being a particular high point, and from the first few moments of grungy, distorted guitar your mind is slung back to a few choice tracks from Feeders back catalogue like ‘Godzilla’, ‘Choke’ and ‘Descend’, left like breadcrumbs to lead the band to this point.
The first single from the album ‘Call Out’ has a similar upbeat tone to ‘Miss You’ and ‘Lost and Found’ despite some fairly dry lyrics and maintains Feeder’s catchiness. Because the songs on the album all have a similar tempo, it’s difficult at first to separate them, but in a way this works to the band’s advantage, since it focuses the audience and forces them to stay on the same page.
Stand out tracks include the hypnotic opener ‘White Lines’, angst-filled ‘Sentimental’ and the show-stopping ‘Home’, which exemplifies exactly what is good about this ‘new’ Feeder, hitting the mark in every area and providing an anthemic chorus at the album’s midpoint.
Like so many albums the songs fall away towards the end, with the baffling ‘Left Food Right’ sounding like a sped up version of Family Guy’s parody of Randy Newman, but overall the album delivers the adrenaline which Feeder fans have been missing since the gritty rock sound of the band’s debut – Polythene.
If you feel like this album sounds a bit too much, never fear, the band have already promised a second album later in the year to cater for the lighter side of the bands repertoire, but for fans who’ve been with them all the way, this is a welcome reminder that the band aren’t past it just yet.
James Michael Parry