Ohio quartet Runaway Brother have returned with their third album, bringing an interesting, eclectic set of tracks that rivals the talent that put their name on the map to begin with. ‘New Pocket’ is an impressive statement, proving the band can push their own boundaries and sound totally at home the entire time.
The album comes from the label Tiny Engines, notorious for their output of emo, alternative and indie talent – but here Runaway Brother manages to use and blur all these genres together effortlessly. Lead single ‘Paws’ encapsulates that complete with bluesy guitars, whirling keys and even a surprise trumpet moment. It still manages to balance energetic frustration with weary emotions by mixing together lyrics like “I wish I spoke to you” before later kicking off a guitar solo with a joyful, distant “Yeah, kick it Chuck!”.
‘Canopy Eyes’ blends art-rock pianos with grunge guitar riffs, while ‘No Fuzz’ throws a funk inspired bridge on top of its otherwise classic indie vibe. ‘Apply Care Directly’ makes use of some creative surf-rock guitar melodies and choruses. ‘Conscience In Tumolt’ features a violin countermelody that runs alongside the track’s finale.
There are many bold moves for the band on this album, and it gives it some of it’s most defining moments. Without some of these, a lot of the tracks would easily sink back into the saturated realm of modern American indie. Instead, they’ve provided Runaway Brother ample creative room to make some of their best tracks to date.
However, if you find yourself struggling with the moments where they haven’t grabbed a new instrument, this album might feel congested with dead time leading into these flashier aspects. There’s a lot of echoing guitar rhythms being wailed over despondently, and new listeners may find it hard to discover the glimmering moments that set Runaway Brother apart from other bands. It’s a fun, inventive take on something tried and tested, and a wonderful step forwards.
‘New Pocket’ by Runaway Brother is out now on Tiny Engines.
Words by Sam Seaton.