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Renae - The Coward, the Storm, & the... Album Cover

Renae - The Coward, the Storm, & the...

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Renae - The Coward, the Storm, & the Outlaw EP
Record Label: Common Life
Release Date: August 22, 2008
No matter the arena, order of succession is rarely a stable institution. After forming in late 2005, many projected Southern Illinois rock band Renae to be the heir to what can only be described as a musical power vacuum in the St. Louis area. Having released a widely acclaimed EP in 2006, listeners could only marvel at such popular material being produced at such an early stage in a band’s development. The incredible potential displayed in the first release led many fans to believe that the group could very well achieve popularity past simply a local scale and furthermore help breathe life into the St. Louis area scene. However, as we all know, talent and potential are but basic anatomical units of a successful musical group. In the two years following the self-titled release, the group endured a fair share of tribulations, most notably the loss of band members Kane Harrell, a widely renowned guitarist, and Jeff Boston, the band’s bassist and one of the group’s founding members from an earlier musical venture. Following the lineup change, many listeners, myself included, questioned whether or not the band’s musical output would suffer from the limitations of a new four-man roster. Having been a part of the Midwestern faction that initially formed a fan base for Renae, I could only hope that the group would continue to progress and handle the adversity in stride.

Days passed and certain times expired: the generation that once helped sanction the group’s local celebrity dissipated with maturation. I personally wondered whether the band itself was also marked for expiration. The high school evenings with which Renae’s stigmatic significance no doubt aligned were nothing more than stories: the stench of sweaty teenagers had cleared, the cigarettes had been spent, the drunken stupors had subsided. Sitting in my dorm room on a Wednesday morning, enduring the result of an unrelated drunken stupor, I was reminded of said experiences when I received a request to review Renae’s new six-song EP The Coward, the Storm, & the Outlaw. I was no doubt interested in hearing the group’s new material and gladly accepted. So, without further annoyance, I will start the reviewing process. I usually see track-by-track reviews as a somewhat tedious, rudimentary process but, seeing as the targeted album consists of only six songs, I will go ahead and dig in and leave literary fluff by the wayside.

The EP opens, appropriately, with the first track entitled “The Coward.” The album’s first moments transition from a clean guitar entry to a sliding vocal display by vocalist Stephen Rosborough. The new found vocal lucidity appears throughout all six tracks but is soon alternated with the his trademark growling scream and a somewhat neo-punk vocal approach. Perhaps the most inspiring facet of the opening act is the inclusion of an undeniably impressive bass drop that reappears throughout the EP’s duration, leaving little doubt that the void at bassist has been filled with no competence lost. I was surprised at the musical approach taken in this and the following tracks, as the pop appeal of earlier works is all but abandoned and, instead, replaced with indie aggression. The second track, “The Outlaw,” (this time discarding convenience in accordance with the album title) reiterates many of the points brought up in the former song. However, “The Outlaw” plays the part of the aggressor much more potently, further introducing the aforementioned edginess. The lyrical maturation from earlier works becomes vividly apparent at this point in the album, as lyrics are brought to more commanding, personal note.

The third song is entitled “Slowly Diving.” Whether intentional or not, the vocal lucidity is sported most heavily at this point in the record, reflective of the kinetic movements associated with the physical act diving through water. The vocal strides from past creations are put on full display and carry on to the next track “The Lake of Fire,” my personal favorite of the record. This bias may stem from the track’s use of what I like to call artistic showmanship, cinematic integrity if you will: the utilization of a culminating effect within an expression (something the group has become particularly talented at doing). What I consider to be one of the compilation’s strongest hooks comprises the chorus as it is repeatedly inquired, “[w]ill I see it or will I be cast into the lake of fire? [w]ill I see it or will I be sent home?” thereafter interchanged with the emotional dictation, “[s]end me home.”

Following “Ghost Towns,” a mostly instrumental track assumedly included for the sake of atmosphere, the album is concluded with its single, “Guillotine.” While the single is praised by many fans, it is personally my least favorite of the album. However, as can be concluded from the track’s title, the lyrical subject matter surrounds beheading and its corresponding result, which conveniently brings my review to a full circle in reference to the earlier mention of order of succession.

The last stanzas uttered in The Coward, the Storm, & the Outlaw include a declaration that the speakers “[w]on’t give” up after having “[w]aited in silence.” Whether this is an indicator of prosperous times to come or not is not clear at this point and I have never been one for artistic omens or premonitions. However, basing my opinion on this release and the band’s earlier works, I could very easily see Renae being the proverbial next big thing.

Band MembersStephen Rosborough: vocals
Ben Dewitt: guitar
Brad Pigg: bass
Adam Dewitt: drums

Recommended If You LikeGlassjaw; At the Drive-In; As Cities Burn

myspace.com/renaemusic
This review is a user submitted review from speakhandsforme. You can see all of speakhandsforme's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 14 of 14
09:56 AM on 01/05/09
#2
bwalden
Bradley Walden
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i love this band, i hope they skyrocket to the fucking moon. nicest dudes and they believe in their music. well done review.
06:40 PM on 01/05/09
#3
matthewamelung
The Great Bambino
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i love this record.
07:28 PM on 01/05/09
#4
j_mason21
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I love Renae soooo much. I could see them going far. I hope so.
10:46 PM on 01/05/09
#5
speakhandsforme
Rob the poor to feed the rich
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I appreciate the good feedback, boys. Just spread the word on these guys and cross your fingers.
12:29 AM on 01/06/09
#6
DarkOne
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I went to their Sprignfield, IL show at the Blacksheep this past weekend and people drove from Iowa, Northern IL, Missouri, and Indiana jsut to see them, wow!
10:40 AM on 01/15/09
#7
IOWA_VENUE
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these guys are amazing, best band to come play for me! they are gonna get big!
01:07 AM on 02/04/09
#8
tvaJeff
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Ha, I love this band. Coming from a former member of the band, their new stuff is definitely worth a listen. I like it wayyyy better than the stuff we wrote while I was in the band. Stephen's vocals are notch and the band has a great overall western feel to this record. Kinda like Poison the Well's Versions meets The Mars Volta's Deloused as far as the music goes. Vocals remind me of As Cities Burn, Glassjaw, and Envy on the Coast.
02:39 PM on 02/04/09
#9
speakhandsforme
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Ha, I love this band. Coming from a former member of the band, their new stuff is definitely worth a listen. I like it wayyyy better than the stuff we wrote while I was in the band. Stephen's vocals are notch and the band has a great overall western feel to this record. Kinda like Poison the Well's Versions meets The Mars Volta's Deloused as far as the music goes. Vocals remind me of As Cities Burn, Glassjaw, and Envy on the Coast.
I actually preferred the direction they were headed with the demos they recorded in between records. I still think that the group could use a pure vocalist to alternate with Stephen if they want to progress.
06:24 PM on 02/04/09
tvaJeff
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The demos with annexation, angels and demons, and busy on the ground?
07:06 PM on 02/04/09
speakhandsforme
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The demos with annexation, angels and demons, and busy on the ground?
Yes, sir. I don't recall the title of the second track but, muddled clarity aside, I much enjoyed it. And the last 2:00 of Busy on the Ground is about as moving as anything thus far.
01:55 PM on 02/05/09
tvaJeff
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Ha thanks, we did those for like $20 a song. I think battleship was on the demo also. I do not have a copy of any of our old stuff anymore unfortunately.
04:49 PM on 02/15/09
benny d
Dude, you did not!
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i love all the kind words. this is my heart and these are my heartsongs. thank you
06:27 PM on 10/02/09
stephzick
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I LOVE THIS BAND!!!!

i have met them several times at the keokuk mall and they are amazing kind people!!
i have been a hardcore fan of other bands for YEARS but after hearing the first 30 seconds of renae they became my favorite band,i cant wait for the new cd!!!SQUEEEEE!!

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