REVIEW: Runaway Brother – ‘Mother’

Artist: Runaway Brother
Album: Mother
Label: Tiny Engines
Genre: Emo, Pop-Punk, Indie Rock

Runaway Brother’s Mother hits hearts the right way at the right moment.

You are initially given an illusion of elegance upon the entry of “Harvest.” Mother isn’t elegant, though. Mother is actually quite abrasive and digs deep into your skin, finding your most vulnerable spots and making mansions out of them. In this record lie messages you’ve failed to deliver at the most pivotal moments of your life. Here’s to poking at those cigarette burns.

“Peel back the skin. Lose yourself in bliss.”

Slowly you become intimately acquainted with all the grittiness hanging loosely out of the record. Biting into “Moth” was a bit taxing as the melodic contour that parades through most of the collection was missing. “Hummingbird” redeems this, though, by maintaining the same crunch but adding arpeggiated riffs to its introduction — a subtle element that gets accounted for more than one would think.

A pattern forms somewhere along the way. You start to notice that there are spots throughout each song where you think you’ve subtly transitioned into the next when you are actually still at the same area. Although probably unintentional, it’s sort of like the bottom line on “Hold Me Down,” which says that although things get better, things will always find a way to fall apart and you will find yourself back at where you began.

Similar to that of a few tracks in Say Anything’s In Defense Of The Genre, “False Halo” and one of my favorites, “Hold Me Down,” contain a lot of the elements that make the band sound unique. On top of the similarity in vocal timbre, another bit is that tiny portion at 2:30 on “False Halo” that you find on different spots along the record. The vocal thing becomes really evident on “Catch,” too.

I often seek out quotes whenever I need a void in my brain filled and can’t find the right things to say to myself. It takes a lot to spew words and invoke emotion simultaneously. Runaway Brother does this a generous amount of times, even when they don’t. The song “Catch” goes out to those who have made any attempt at making you doubt how valuable you are as a person. The members chime in collectively with “I shouldn’t care. For a lack of a better phrase, well, you suck. I won’t succumb to you.”

In a few instances, we find ourselves stuck in the same spot that we were in at “Moth.” “False Halo” feels almost too constrained to attempt to breach, both lyrically and sonically. So much so that it becomes difficult to associate with the rest. Conversely, “Virgin Rock” is up for interpretation. A good one would be that it is an honest tale of modern day romance. As put in this song clearly, never has a generation prior to ours put such little effort into forming substantial connections.

Reconvening from the excitement that was “Makes You Happy” is “Reprise” and closing track, “Youniverse.” Both tracks offer a slight step backwards and pull you away from the clusterfuck of feelings you’ve probably pulled out of suppression at this point. “Reprise” is about Mary. Not just any Mary, though. It’s about that Mary…if you know what I mean. “Youniverse” is relatively more poised than the rest and offered a lot of closure fit for a finale, leaving you in reverie.

Mother wasn’t arrogant or extravagant. Mother was that pretty girl that sat behind the class quietly. She was outspoken but was very careful in who she spoke to. Mother kept to herself but commanded the attention of those who passed her by.

This debut record makes you infinitely more anticipative of what the future holds for Runaway Brother, and, in their own words, “you’ll want to stay.”

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Dana Reandelar

Dana Reandelar
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