Here Come The Runts signifies AWOLNATION’s return to music some three years after the release of their second record. For those of you who are perhaps unfamiliar with the group, their main success came in the form of mega-hit Sail, the dizzying heights of which AWOLNATION have fallen more than a little short of here.
Right from the get go it’s clear that AWOLNATION aren’t capable of doing anything quietly or subtly. The record’s eponymous track begins with some Beastie Boys promise, but the song is too focused on the bad kinds of yelling to live up to what is actually a pretty strong start. Three tracks in and the record still seems like a patchwork of other people’s work rather than a statement of identity. Sound Witness System is lifted from the work of Alt-J, filtered through the lens of a frat boy that just loves to be loud and take up space.
There is a glimmer of hope though in amongst the cacophony; as Jealous Buffoon gives a glimpse of quality alt-indie stylings that truthfully should have taken more of a centre stage idea wise during this album’s inception. The riffs are heavy enough to kick up a fuss, but the softer vocal take has a nostalgic vibe that throws it right back to the golden days of MGMT. We’ve all been a Jealous Buffoon at some point in our lives, and now we have the anthem we never knew we needed.
Once the good times start, they actually manage to stick around for a while as My Molasses goes to show. Once again, harmonies are prioritised over wild party vibes and it’s a side of AWOLNATION that I wish they would indulge more often than at present. Gentile indie rock isn’t for everyone, but when it’s sweet like this – can you really resist?
Stop That Train is a heavily percussive end to this mish mash of tracks, bridging a little of the gap between all the varying genres covered. It’s been a wild 45 minute ride, which was pretty bumpy in places but came in for a smoother ending. AWOLNATION started off with sonic turbulence, and ended on something a little less violent.
As a band, there needs to be work done on collecting cohesive ideas, so that records aren’t sewn together bits from here and there. AWOLNATION might not have another Sail on their hands here, but they tried – at least on the last half of the record.