CD, A Different Drum, 2006
If there were one Synthpop release that I can say I’ve really been looking forward to hearing this year, it would have to be Rename’s “Energize”. Following their debut “Culture” from two years ago, Rename had already set a pretty high standard for other bands in their genre by creating an amalgamation of soulful light-hearted pop songs with infectious melodies and catchy choruses. Where as the first album was an underground hit in its own right for many Synthpop listeners, “Energize” brings us the next stage of evolution for this ever progressing act.
Now any fan of Rename’s music can tell you one thing alone, they ‘know’ how to write good pop songs, and never has this been more apparent than with the opening track “Ex-L”, which has an amazing pop structure from start to finish. With great vocal work, lush sequencing, and a chorus to make the Pet Shop Boys blush, this track has to be a contender for the first single to be taken from the album. Even as the song comes to and end to lead way for the rest of the album, something in the back of your mind is telling you that this is the track from the album that you will be forever humming for the weeks or months that follow. Moving on through some of the other tracks on the album, it dawned upon me how much Rename have actually progressed their sound since their debut. A lot of the tracks now seem to have acquired an almost ‘disco-feel’ to them and for what its worth, it seems to have paid off in a big way. After reading the inlay, I noticed that a couple of the tracks have been written in collaboration with none other than A Different Drum’s head honcho, Todd Durrant. Also, whilst on the subject of the albums collaborations, the one track that has really stood out and hit a chord with me has to be “Technicolor Girl”. This track in its entirety is an absolute gem. Co-written with Kirk Taylor (from fellow ADD label mate, The Dignity Of Labour), the track mirrors each of the bands styles to perfection, and I can honestly say that I have yet to see a Synthpop duet that could rival it.
Summing up, this release was definitely worth the wait as I think Rename have given great thought into what people expect from the project and more importantly, where they would like to see the band go in the future. Like most albums, of course you’re going to find some less appealing songs as I did with a couple of tracks on the album, but you cannot deny that Rename have come on leaps and bounds since their conception and I can see a very bright future ahead for this act in the years to come.
— Paul Marcham