TOSELAND – Renegade (2014)
Well who would have thought it, former Superbike champion James TOSELAND has a voice that could rival Axl Rose. Having officially retired from professional motorsport in 2011 due to a wrist injury, racing’s loss is most definitely musics gain.
Following the premature end of his career, Toseland has returned to his first love – music, now embarking on a solo career in a quintet known simply as TOSELAND and their debut full length CD entitled “Renegade”.
The 11 songs on “Renegade” take us to an aural equivalent of racing Superbikes, with James having swapped the high octane world of motorbikes for his own high octane brand of hard rock.
“Life Is Beautiful” opens the album in a rocking fashion, giving the listener an adrenaline shot that will have you kicking out the jams in no time flat, while “Gotta Be A Better Way” has a catchy riff and angst ridden vocals that will stick in your head for days after.
“Crash Landing” is another rocker with its heart on its sleeve whilst “Just No Way” takes the listener on a GN’R grandiose lush ballad tour de force, albeit without the pompous attitude of Axl Rose. It’s also very reminiscent of Little Angels’ ‘Womankind’ in the middle Eighties.
But hey when Toby Jepson is involved in the production you can’t help but be swept away by two things: the amazing polished sound and even better song writing. This album is full to the brim with both.
That’s taking nothing away from James though as he stamps his authority all over the record too and in particular “Coming To Get Ya” is a foot stomping beast of a song. It is easy to see that the ability to write songs that will sound like skyscrapers live has rubbed off on the band after numerous support slots opening for The Darkness / Little Angels and Reef.
The second half (or side two) of the album finds itself continuing the great work of the preceding songs.
“Good Eye Blind” is another toe tapping, boot stomper which flows nicely into the piano intro of “Kingdoms”, and this song is a must for a future single release. Seriously this song alone is worth the price of the album, taking as it does the ‘feelgood factor ‘of what makes up most of the current climate of the rock scene and adding in a healthy dose of soar away guitar and vocals.
And what current rock album would be complete without an AC/DC style classic rocker? Toseland certainly does not disappoint in that department, and with “Burning The System” the band have written and produced a classic rock song for the modern times.
“Emergency” is the penultimate track on this solid record with a modern sharp sound and great voclas. All of which leads to the final track and boy did they keep the best ‘til last as “Renegade” is a fantastic way to end an album. It’s melodic, swaggerin’ and bounces all over.
Not many bands out there are able to combine modern fist pumping, groove laden hard rock music with catchy, memorable hooks and glam rock vocals. Toseland does it in “Renegade” through simple and effective songs that keeps your foot tapping.
James Toseland’s raspy yet sweet voice is one of the major selling points of the album, and those who know him from the racing world will smile, knowing that it was his fame there that has enabled him to follow his musical dream. But it’s the tight band as a whole with its crunchy guitar riffs and punchy rhythm section which makes “Renegade” so enjoyable, and a fabulous production, of course.
01 – Life Is Beautiful
02 – Gotta Be a Better Way
03 – Singer in a Band
04 – Crash Landing
05 – Just No Way
06 – Comin’ to Get Ya
07 – Good Eye Blind
08 – Kingdoms
09 – Burning the System
10 – Emergency
11 – Renegade
James Toseland (vocals, keyboards)
Zurab Melua (guitar)
Rabea Massaad (keyboards)
Dave Hollingsworth (bass)
Jim Watson (keyboards)
Ben Menal (drums)
BUY IT !