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Running Still

Running Still

Review by Gary Hill

This is really a strong CD. Fans of Radiohead should find plenty of common ground here as it seems that Radiohead must be the biggest influence on these guys. There music is extremely catchy, but also artistically solid. There is not a weak song on the disc and a few that are just plain awesome. If you like the modern rock meets pop in an artists collage sound, then you’ll love this. These guys are among the best practitioners of the sound.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
My House
This pounds in with a slightly punky alternative rock feel. They drop it back to a more stripped down approach for the vocals. At the end of the verse they power it out, but not in the way you might expect. Instead we get an acoustic guitar laden melodic powered up segment. This catchy tune is a great opener. I like this one a lot.
Ordinary
Here they begin a bit more tentatively and they pull it into something a little closer to a modern rock ballad. This tune is also quite accessible. I particularly like the segment where they drop it way down and a guitar solo accompanies the vocals.
Waiting For You
They drop things way back this time. We get an acoustic guitar ballad motif that’s a bit moody. After a couple of verses they bring it up a bit, but it still stays quite mellow – particularly in comparison to the rest of the disc. I get a bit of a Radiohead vibe here, but on the rest of the album as well. On this one I also make out a bit of Chris Isaak for some reason. The track gets reworked into a far more powerful jam later as they continue to bring it further upward.

Float
This feels a bit angrier than some of the other music here. The thing is, the arrangement is also more proggy in some ways with layers of keyboards and other elements bringing in all sorts of melodic interest.
Something Is Wrong
They lead things off here with a pretty piano and vocal (non-lyrical) motif that calls to mind both The Beatles and Radiohead. As they bring things up ever so gradually we get a lot more of that Radiohead texture. This is essentially a balladic piece. It’s moody and exceptionally tasty.  When they crank it out later with soaring non-lyrical vocals and a climbing arrangement this is just plain awesome. It’s definitely a contender for best track on the CD.

Fly
In some ways this is one of the most straightforward tracks on the CD. A raw hard rock motif makes up the verse of this. When it shifts out to the chorus, though, this is turned into a powerhouse piece. It’s catchy and powerful.

Come Away
An acoustic guitar based ballad, this reminds me (in terms of the early music) a bit of early Rolling Stones. Once the vocals are added you definitely are likely to think of Radiohead. This is even more evident when other instruments join.
Two Worlds
The overall format is not abandoned. This doesn’t have its own identity in terms of style. That said, it’s a killer tune and one of the highlights of the disc. They take the same ingredients they’ve cooked with throughout the disc and put them in a new recipe that tastes great.
Closer
They’ve got a bit more of a punky attitude to a lot of this track. Still, it powers out into another jam that’s quite in the vein of Radiohead.

Changing the World
This is the other contender for best number on show here. The lyrics seem to be about how modern technology has changed the world. It’s got that Beatles meet Radiohead feel. The arrangement is along the lines of a piano based ballad. This is bouncy and very cool. It’s got a lot of emotion and power packed within its packaging.
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