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Toseland - Renegade + Heart & Bones

Renegade + Heart & Bones
by Nick Webb at 20 December 2015, 10:15 AM

After releasing “Renegade”, his debut full length album last year, TOSELAND (James Toseland) has released another 3-track EP “Heart & Bones”, and this is a combined review for both the debut album and the EP.

“Renegade” opens with what was the first single, the powerfully anthemic “Life is Beautiful” which became a favourite of UK rock radio when it was released - and having not heard it for a while, it immediately reminded me of how much of an awesome song it both was then as it is now. The album shows off not only how wide the range of TOSELAND’s voice is, but also the different styles, from melodic, anthemic rock songs, to funkier bluesy grooves and driving tracks which suggest that an inspiration to the writing this album was to try and get the listeners to accidentally start driving their cars at top speeds. The musicians in the band behind are all top notch players, creating tight, well-rehearsed and impeccably polished grooves; the solo and melodic guitar sections are full of the right blend of tasteful tunefulness and shreddy noodling.

Right from the get-go, the song “Just No Way” has all the hallmarks of the typical power ballad: Slow melodies building to powerful choruses and increasing dynamics which really tug at the heartstrings. “Renegade” is as a whole incredibly well produced; every single track and instrument clear as a bell and well placed in the mix, which definitely adds to the fact that it feels like an incredibly slick package, marketed at a demographic who’s desire for newer acts is often lessened by the ease and comfort of re-releases of classic bands of the 70s and 80s. From time to time the sheer sleekness of the recording does feel like it’s taking away some of the bite and attitude of the songs - many of the tracks, especially “Comin to Get Ya” sound incredibly GUNS N ROSES-esque, but with less of the grime and dirt that Axl, Slash and co. had back in the day.

The two tracks available here off new E.P. “Hearts and Bones” have a bit more bite and a heavier, rawer edge to them, which serves to allow even more passion to be portrayed through the music. The melodic, classic melodic rock and bluesy groove is all retained, as is the vocal sound which is immediately comparable to any of the great hard rock singers of the 80s. Overall, the entirety of both releases is filled with melody and groove, with a slickness that, while detracting a little from and “street” badassery that they may be after, does nothing other than lift up the way the album flows and lifts. Real feel-good melodic rock and roll.

4 Star Rating

1. Life is Beautiful
2. Gotta Be A Better Way
3. Singer in a Band
4. Crash Landing
5. Just No Way
6. Comin to Get Ya
7. Good Eye Blind
8. Kingdoms
9. Burning the System
10. Emergency
11. Renegade
Heart & Bones
1. Hearts and Bones
2. The Closer I Get
James Toseland – Vocals, Keyboards
Zurab Melua – Guitars
Ed Bramford – Guitars
Roger Davis - Bass
Record Label: Metalville Records


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