AWOLNATION’s new album Here Come The Runts is almost here, but is it worth your time?
To celebrate the release of the new AWOLNATION album, Here Come The Runts, on February 2nd I was given the opportunity to listen to the full release. And now I am here to give you some general thoughts and answer whether you should pick it up or not? As this is my first time reviewing an album I will be reviewing more from the layman’s point of view. But I hope however to give a fair perspective overall. Right, let’s dive in.
Here Come the Runts is defined by instrumental experimentation. Lyrics are secondary on most of the songs (though several do use them to great effect) to the unique mood. Created through shifting genres and use of different instruments. Some of the songs blend electronic music, with brass and rock in a very interesting way. And the album switches from hard rock to acoustic with hardly a second’s breath. But it definitely helps the album feel more exciting and experimental. This album really is like a box of chocolates as it supplies great variety on display.
And several of those chocolates are really tasty. Of the albums 14 tracks (including a 1-minute interlude) I would recommend Here come the Runts, a great intro that builds tension and energy as a fast guitar, blends with warbling electronic sounds and a passionate battle cry of a chorus that gets the blood pumping. Passion continues the streak of…passionately made songs. It is probably the albums catchiest song. And it shows because, at time of writing, it is number 16 in the billboard alternative chart. With an infectious chorus and awesome guitar work, you will be tapping your feet for days after you hear it. Cannonball is another earworm that digs its claws in with a consistent energy that it’s hard not to dance to. Finally, Stop that train rounds things off with a confident blend of styles that constantly changes but always flows naturally, ensuring that the listener leaves with a smile on their face.
However, not everything from the box can be a winner. For every rebellious, alternative or fun song, many tracks remain mediocre or in the case of Tall, Tall Tale and My Molasses outright forgettable. These tracks often repeat themselves with similar structure and using many safe genre conventions. This includes the use of sentimental lyrics, that don’t feel earned and breaking out of the acoustic guitar to show tenderness. The album also creatively slumps in the middle, as many of the songs feel like re-treads of material that has already been covered in better songs. Which can sour the experience as the promise shown in the early and a few later tracks, is let down. But, I would not say any of these tracks are outright bad. All provide for easy listening that fans of AWOLNATION or alternative rock may enjoy. But its hard not to feel disappointed after the early songs showed a lot of promise.
Should you buy it?
Overall as someone unfamiliar with AWOLNATION this album had a lot of pleasant surprises. Several tracks managed to creatively blend musical styles or deliver catchy beats that I will annoy my neighbours with for quite a while. However, there are several tracks that let the album down by simply not doing anything more than meeting basic expectations. But, Here Come The Runts definitely showcases the bands talents and makes me interested to check out their earlier work. Give it a listen, especially if you like the bands previous stuff. But if you just want to listen to the best stuff, skip the middle.