Renegade Soundwave

  • Renegade Soundwave
  • Biting My Nails EP (Mute/Enigma) 1988 
  • Soundclash (Mute/Enigma) 1989 
  • RSW in Dub (Mute/Elektra) 1990 

Originating as DJs and warehouse party promoters, the three members of Renegade Soundwave have always shown as much enthusiasm for dance beats and studio gimmickry as for actual songs. A home in the multi-ethnic west London enclave of Ladbroke Grove has also instilled in them the love of reggae and dub that is evident from the 1986 debut “Cocaine Sex” (included, along with its successor, “Kray Twins,” on the American Biting My Nails 12-inch) through to the club-oriented RSW in Dub album. Along the way, a more conventional use of vocals, guitars and dance breaks has yielded two crossover UK hit singles: “Biting My Nails” and “Probably a Robbery” (both on Soundclash).

All of which gives Renegade Soundwave an identity crisis. Unsure whether to produce rock songs, dance anthems or dub jams, they experiment with each on Soundclash (the CD of which contains two bonus tracks) and just come across confused. On RSW in Dub, which contains mostly new and totally revamped material, they do away with the vocals but still zigzag between industrial house and dub reggae. Like many products of the dancefloor, Renegade Soundwave can be inspired when working with 12-inch singles (the trio’s remixes for other bands, from Inspiral Carpets to Nitzer Ebb, are easily identifiable by the dominance of bass and percussive rhythm over melody). But they have yet to demonstrate such mastery on their albums.

[Tony Fletcher]