Runaway Brother have really come into themselves with their newest album, New Pocket, for Tiny Engines, the same label behind The Hotelier.
Comparisons to Built To Spill abound, and that’s a very fast way to get to my heart. Jacob Lee and Doug Martsch are vocal doppelgangers.
Great employment of dynamics, negative space, and start-stops kept me on my toes all the way through.
Gotta love when they don’t waste time, and “Apply Care Directly” matches its name by kicking the whole thing off with a bang.
“Conscience In Tumult” might be the best one. It does something thousands of prog bands wish they could: it uses 7/4 and other time signatures without ever getting in the way of the song. Throw in a cello solo, and you’ve got something really special here.
They follow that with “Paws”. Mellow, longing. Tremoloed guitars, and sweet layered vocals. An example of great decision making on the part of producer Eric Cronstein.
My favorite here, easily, is “Kissing”. That rush you get when you kiss someone? It’s perfectly encapsulated in the first 30 seconds. That tension when you’re waiting for it to happen? That’s the gorgeous, quiet chorus; what an interesting decision, to be understated. “Set me free, kiss me…” Then these big, sloppy guitar brushstrokes, like tongues interlocking and twisting. Spiritual, anthemic. Well done. A simple and affecting song.
Also be sure to hear “Obscured By Light”. Is it about Trump? They say, “Stay away – You bring nothing to this world but hate.” Strong accusation. Then they tell him to build himself a rocket and fly away on it.
The album ends with “Stolen”. I love the big elongated triplets that bring the conclusion about with power.
Overall, a wildly consistent effort from a band that has been really promising for a couple of years, and have outdone themselves handily with this effort.
See also: The Mellowells, “Pastoral Radio Hit” by Radiator Hospital, Into It. Over It., or like a rowdier and riffier Snail Mail.