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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World champion of debut albums, 24 Mar 2014
This review is from: Renegade (Audio CD)
I am not the worlds biggest bike racing fan, but do follow it somewhat, so I was fully aware of who Mr Toseland was, so when I heard he was releasing an EP last year and that Toby Jepson of Little Angels was involved, my interest was piqued.
I bought the Life is beautiful EP after hearing and enjoying the video to the title track, and found that the 3 other songs on the EP were as good or dare I say it, better.
So when the pledge campaign was announced for the full album I did no hesitate to pledge. And then even booked a ticket to see them live. What I can say after getting this album a few days before general release is that the album expands on the EP as it includes all of the tracks from the EP, with the only change being that the piano based demo of Renegade is replaced on the album by the full on rocked out electric version.
Unsurprisingly with Jepson producing and co-writing most if not all of the songs, there are a few Little Angels influences here and there, but these are so small that you certainly wouldnt say this was an LA inspired band.
At times James reminds me of Danny Vaughn of Tyketto, at other times Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge/Slash, but at no point does he sound exactly like these guys.
The album is a classic rock album with a modern touch here and there, and should certainly appeal to people who have a penchant for big arena style rock of the 80s.
The songs are catchy as hell, and go from full on rockers to heart felt ballads.
If you check out the three videos on youtube (Life is beautiful, Renegade and Crash landing) and like them, then you will like the rest of the album as well.
Great debut, and I look forward to seeing them again live as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beefed up classic rock which shows promise, 9 April 2014
By 
Mr. P. M. Thompon "Fraggle497" (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Renegade (Audio CD)
The first time I heard Toseland's musical talents was on the much loved digital radio station Planet Rock in mid-2013. For a while I sat there, listening to the song 'Life Is Beautiful' thinking to myself "Where the hell do I know that name?" It then dawned on me; this was the same Toseland as British world superbike champion and former MotoGP racer James Toseland. A well known sports personality turned musician... What could possibly go wrong? Could it turn into a "Waddle & Hoddle"? Thankfully not!

Toseland's first album release does not disappoint. It is a nice slice of good old rock music, perfectly paced to nod along to with pint in hand or jump around like a lunatic to. It's got the catchy guitar licks, infectious drum beats which will get you tapping along with your fingers or air-drumming along. Those sing along chorus sections with the gang-vocal backups and plenty of attitude to match. On the whole it is a nice kick back to the 70's style rock sounds we all love but with a more modern twist. What it might lack in rawness in some parts, it more than makes up for it with the energy and the passion it delivers.

"Renegade" is 11 tracks long and it weighs in at roughly 45 minutes long. No song is longer than 4:30 so listening to it doesn't feel like a task. Everything is straight to the point, there's no big dramatic build ups (though sometimes, dragging it out for that special moment in the song is worth the extra minute or two in length!) and it does have some variety to it too - it's got a ballad in there which wouldn't be out of place on a dodgy 80's AOR album and its even got a more modern rock styled song in there too.

The album opens up with "Life is beautiful", the song which Planet Rock radio picked up on and started pushing out during their daily radio shows. The raw sounding guitars with the relatively simply drums catch the ear and the vocals come in shortly after. They aren't lacking in character but given a few more albums and a few more tours, they can only get better.

"Gotta be a better way" follows and it is a lot faster in feel than the album opener. The vocals are delivered quickly over a faster paced drum and guitar riff before the intro riff which also doubles up as the chorus riff comes back in. It gives a pushing feel to the song, almost like it's taking you by the neck and pulling you along with it. Lyrically it comes across as a scathing attack on the state of things in society, particularly with politics, citing that there has to be a better way if only we can find. Clichéd? Yes. But it's simple, its effective and it's got one hell of a feel to it.

"Singer in a band" is a fast paced tribute to the life of a rock n roll vocalist paying tribute to the whole bad-boy image and sleaze factor we all love about the musicians of old which comes across like a classic late 70's/early 80's rock n roll song but seriously beefed up. With lines like "He's sensational/He's subliminal/If he wasn't so hot he'd be a criminal" and "He'll abuse ya/He'll seduce ya/If you give him all you got you know he'll use ya" he plays on the classic image of the groupie phenomenon where women would throw themselves at anything on a stage. It has two magic moments, the first being this line: "Got an appetite like an animal/Don't let your famine lead your hands into a cannibal" and the second magic moment comes round the 2:44 mark where the tempo of the song keeps up, but the attack lets off just a little bit, enough to allow the final chorus to kick back in at full intensity, giving the song a dramatic finish.

"Crash landing" is a song which Toseland often jokes about live, citing his inspiration was part of his old job and how he had plenty of experience with this type of situation. True to its name and the memories of number 52 being ejected off his bike, the song kicks in with a high-octane feel, and it maintains the energy all throughout the song before it gets more intense for the last minute with the lead guitar soloing over Toseland's more spread out vocals, creating a sense of urgency, almost like there was going to be a crash landing.

"Just No Way" is the obligatory ballad and its purpose is three-fold. One - it helps slow the album down so you can relax for a moment or two before resuming the fast paced rock n roll which we all love. Two - it demonstrates the front man's talent for the piano which is pretty impressive and Three - it shows just how versatile this band is. Toseland can do the fast paced vocals and he can also slow things down and sing with feeling. Give it a few years and this song might just end up on one of those damned power ballad compilation CDs.

"Comin to get ya" comes in with a Bon-Jovi feel to it but with a lot more beef and balls, and a lot less spandex, hairspray and 80's about it. The infectious riff of the song will be stuck in your head as Toseland spits out lines about how he's fallen for some mystery woman and the chorus says with some really bad hair metal-esque metaphors of how he's going to get the girl he's on about. All in all, it's a great catchy song which has some fantastic sing along moments and a great feel to it and it has two great guitar solos too. For those interested, the section starts round 2:29 and ends at 3:11 and then again round the 3:40 mark and that one lasts till the end of the song.

"Good eye blind" doesn't really stand out much. It's got a good heavy sound and groove to it and a nice thick chorus but it just seems to blend into the end of the track before it. Something which you wouldn't realise if you just listened to this album in the background or if you weren't paying close attention. Aside from some decent lead work, it just lacks that spark which makes it stand out.

"Kingdoms" stands out though. It's an uplifting number full of energy and its vocal styling's sound very similar to Myles Kennedy on Slash's "Apocalyptic love". The combination of the piano being the focal point of the song and the guitar backing it up in the choruses and being more subtle in the verses works well, giving it a more modern rock sound than classic rock one. The powerful vocals added to this mix just makes the track stand out like the way the ballad does from the usual foot to the floor rock which the album is loaded with, helping to break up the sound so it doesn't seem to fade into the background like "Good eye blind" does.

"Burning the system" is right back to that classic rock, high octane feeling. It sounds very AC/DC with its simplistic riffs and tricky leads which are very Angus-like and its gang-vocal styled chorus shouts. It's simple, its effective and it will get you moving when you hear it whether you like it or not. It's like the earlier songs in the album - it will get your attention and drag you along with it much like "Comin to get ya" did. It brings you back from the variety the previous track offers and reminds you what this album is all about - rock and roll.

"Emergency" is a lot like "Good eye blind" and "Burning the system" - it's got big riffs and strong vocals in parts but as the second to last track, it doesn't stand out compared to the other tracks around it. Much like the rest of the album bar the ballad and the modern rock song, it's just rock and roll.

"Renegade" is the album closer and it has a very uncanny resemblance in parts to "There was a time" by Guns n Roses. Sadly, like "Comin to get ya" it has that Bon Jovi feel to it. Its beefed up, it has a great solo to boot, but as an album closer, it's a little lacking and it doesn't stand out much.

The only big flaw in the album is its lyrical content. Some of the lyrics when you actually listen to them will prompt a face palm or two, "Singer in a band" and "Comin to get ya" are two of the biggest offenders of this. But when the musical side of the album is as good as what it is - excellent production, great guitar tone and the powerful vocals of James Toseland, which at times are very reminiscent of Axl Rose and Myles Kennedy, you can overlook that fact.

"Renegade" is a nice dose of foot to the floor, hard rock which wouldn't sound out of place on mainstream radio stations, if it ever got the chance to get played out there. Stick it on in the car and get caught up in it, or put it on in the background and let it play out. It's a great first offering from a man who appears to have a bright future in rock music and an appreciation for all things classic - big riffs and dodgy lyrics to boot.

Overall, 7/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wind the volume right up this is a gud en !!!, 9 April 2014
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This review is from: Renegade (MP3 Download)
Right from the first song the energy and passion of this album sums Toseland up. I didn't know the band till a month ago now im searching gig dates to catch them as soon as I can. Jame's voice is fantastic throughout and the guitar and bass lines blend seamlessly to make this a brilliant listen on a long drive with the volume wound right up !! 5 stars from me guys.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James can do no wrong., 26 Mar 2014
By 
Alan Robinson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Renegade (MP3 Download)
the talented one, i love eighties rock and this is as good as it was back in the day.I would imagine a live set from this band well worth a visit. As i am 63 yrs now i will skip that and settle for the album. Good luck in your new venture.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great listen and a good first album from james, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Renegade (MP3 Download)
Some great tracks and a first shot at a rock career after the successful one he had with bikes (Super and MotoGP) - Well done James.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: Renegade (Audio CD)
Saw them live at Newcastle 02 - best concert I've seen in ages & James signed a CD for me after the gig for my brother-in-law who couldn't make it because he was ill. Renegade is a cracker - buy it !! See them !!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: Renegade (Audio CD)
well worth adding to your collection, for a ex racer this is one talented bloke. good rocking tracks to play in your headphones. Oh go and see them live very good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great album & my 1st surprise of the year (musically), 9 April 2014
By 
D. Pugh (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Renegade (Audio CD)
I heard the Renegade single on planet rock last year & was pretty impressed & came to this band on the strength of that rather than on Mr Toselands previous fame but being aware of who He Is too.

The album sounds big & fresh with great production & a nice British rock vibe (co written with Toby Jepson of Little Angels).
surprisingly the is no filler songs on here & everything sounds like they mean it - all played with excellent musicianship
& Jame's vocals are spot on,you can hear influence,but He's his own man on here.

I saw the band a couple of nights ago at the Zephyr Lounge in Leamington Spa & really enjoyed the live energy of the band (different line up to the album band) & was impressed how it came across.

I Had a very brief chat with James after the show & He's a nice guy, go support Him & his band folks ,so refreshing to see an honest UK band enjoying what they do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Renegade (MP3 Download)
I expected this to be rubbish from an unestablished band and an ex-superbike racer... It isn't!
Nice album and a pleasant surprise; recoding quality top notch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great cd, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Renegade (Audio CD)
brilliant first album james great songs very rocky great voice was well suprised the second album, should succeed this one
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