Saturday, April 10, 2010

Runner Runner, the Marathon Winner

It's been about a week since my last post, so I'm getting back into the swing of things with not taking too long to find you guys new stuff to listen to. Still though, I do appreciate your patience, and even though I seem to say it every time I post, I think that you guys should be acknowledged because I know how hard it can be to wait for something new, especially when the gorgeous weather outside (at least here in Atl) is just begging for some awesome summer music to fill the air.
And it's summer music I have found in Runner Runner, a brilliant electro/pop-rock band out of Huntington Beach, California. Now I know that California is just saturated with skate-punk and hardcore groups, and many of them I like very much, but sometimes you just need a change of pace, and that's something Runner Runner certainly delivers. A talented five-piece consisting of Ryan Ogren (lead vocals), Peter Munters (guitar and vocals), Nick Bailey (guitar and vocals), Jon Berry (bass and vocals) and James Ulrich (drums), Runner Runner's tunes are such brilliantly conceived pop beauties that there's no way that you won't come away humming the melodies until you fall asleep. Sometimes pop-rock is really cheesy and over-produced, and when it gets to that point, it almost certainly ruins what might have been a great song or album. Here though, Runner Runner has concocted an elaborate song format, almost ensuring that none of the songs sound like the typical bubblegum-pop, but ride perfectly along the line between pop-rock and pop-punk, blurring the divider, and delivering a KO punch to your medulla oblongata. Seriously, it's impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to any of these songs, and that's just what you want to feel over the summer. 
Though I'd love to talk ad nauseam about all the songs on Runner Runner's playlist, I'll pick the best three, as usual, that are just the must-hears of the bunch (though your ears would smile if you treat them to the whole list). The first track I listen to is "So Obvious," and it's blatantly so obvious that this song has the punch and the staying power to be a brilliant first single for the band. Halfway in between a great pop-rock song and a great dance-rock song, "So Obvious" boasts brilliant smooth vocals from Ogren and fantastic backing vocals from the rest of the band. Ogren's vocals are sharp and melodic at the same time, and balanced over the fantastic guitar interplay between Munters and Bailey, delivering a melody that will stick with you at least for the next 14 hours. The song is compounded, then, by the great dynamic between the rhythm section, as Ulrich's drums keep your heart rate elevated, and Berry's bass lines keep every bone in your body from staying still.  This is just a fantastic track, and certainly one of the five-star tracks present in the playlist. And in case you were wondering, the acoustic version of it is just as brilliant. 
The second track I pick to listen to is "21" and immediately I'm glad I picked it. Right from the first second, I'm struck by the rhythmic guitar chords that land me somewhere between garage-rock and pop-punk, and Bailey and Munters certainly start the song off on a positive note (no pun intended lol). Berry's bass and Ulrich's drums are scaled back slightly here, but still present, and the song prevails for it. Ogren's vocals are amazing, and sung in such a brilliant fashion that I, with my non-melodic voice haha, try and replicate them because they are just so addictive. Aside from that, this song boasts an awesome guitar solo with great rhythm by Bailey and Munters, and a piano riff that brings romance to the forefront of thought and feeling. The lyrics, too, are top-notch, and I readily award this song five stars. If you're looking for a song to play at any dance that's got just the message you want buried in a shining musical performance, this is it. I can only imagine that hearing this song live is amazing.
The last track I'll let myself splurge on about is the pop-punk sounding "Hate the Way (I'm Falling for You)." This song isn't a complicated one: it's straight forward pop-punk-rock with a running drum beat and a great sing-along chorus. Ogren's right on top of his vocals, and Bailey and Munters are having a blast with their guitar interplay. I particularly love the rhythm section here: among melodies provided by the other three, Berry's bass just keeps things moving, and Ulrich's drums tell you when to jump and bang your head. Not an overly complicated song, and that my friends is the beauty in it. Simple is brilliant, and when you find something that works, well, why fix something when it's not broken? 
Runner Runner is as of yet unsigned (at least that's what their sites say), but I don't think that status will stay like that for long. Record labels would have to be dead in the head to pass up this kind of talent. There is so much raw talent out there that you're bound to find tons of amazing musicians, yes, but no two artists or groups are alike, so why would anyone want to pass any of them up? I have no idea, but like I say in almost every post I write, if I had my own label, I'd sign these guys in a heartbeat. One day I will have one, and those other labels better watch out, because I'm the kind of person that will sign talent where ever I see it, and if that drives me into the ground economically, then so be it. Talent deserves to be acknowledged, pure and simple. Anyway if you haven't heard of these guys yet, you will. I'd bet my left kidney that they'll be playing Warped Tour in the next few years to come. But don't wait, because if you like anything melodic or rock, and you're looking for a new band to play at the beach or when the sun is shining, here they are, straight out of California: Runner Runner is my pick for the marathon winner. 

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, Metro Station, All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids

Key Tracks from Runner Runner: "So Obvious," "21," "Hate the Way (I'm Falling for You)," Hey Ally," "The Breakup Song"

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