Review: Run Dan Run – “Normal”

What a simple, interesting band name this one has. They really caught me off guard. I remembered the name before I listened to the record, though, and I had no idea what the band’s story was. At the end of the day, after the swamp of all that prestigious Brooklyn experimental innovation that is pulsating in the veins of the now-standardized indie rock feeder community, it’s always great to stumble across some band from some small corner of the world that just, simply, is new and fresh and sounds fantastic. That’s the story in this case.

Run Dan Run are from Charleston, SC, a town in which I’ve watched several friends and lots of indie bands try to ‘make it,’ but to not much avail unless they relocated. It’s been a few years since I stopped paying attention to the scarcity of ‘good music’ that was coming out of Charleston. That must be how I missed these guys. Normal is their third record, second LP (see, I did miss a lot). Frankly, I have no inclination to go back to those previous records right now, though I’m sure I will at a later date. Let’s talk about the significance of this one instead.

My fellow assistant editor, Will Donelson, says he doesn’t like it when a band makes noise just for the sake of doing so. Though a fan of white noise, I have to agree with him here. “Intro” seems unnecessary; not really leading into the second track, “Lovesick Animal,” as I had hoped it would. “Lovesick Animal” is one I’ve already heard. It’s the promo or the first single or whatever, and it works really well for that. I remember that song, it’s slushy, driving snare. I don’t like horns in rock, but the ones in this tune work with it, and even help make it memorable for me. Really it’s the repetitive vocal styling and the lazy, relaxed, non-serious nature (not of the lyrics, but of the melody that they create) that they pull out of me that make the song endearing.

“Box-Type Love” is guitar heaven for post-shoegazers. It’s a really sad song, reminding me of Snowden’s nature when Jordan Jeffares isn’t up in arms with subject matter. This is driving like Snowden’s Anti-Anti, and boasts some similarly creative guitar effects but, again, is less serious/more relaxed.

“Gestures & Patterns” holds some more vocal repetition (a good niche), and is dynamically built with the same tactics that An Horse used on their first record. I’m inclined to say that the added female backup vocals help achieve this, but similar dynamics and exercise in slowly building tension with the music alone carry through other songs. It happens on “Spelling Words” and “Finger & Fist” (if the darkness of that one didn’t create tension enough).

Normal holds a good mix of slow and fast paces. “Cut-Outs” sounds like a meld of a couple of songs off Radiohead’s OK Computer. I don’t’ like this but, in Run Dan Run’s defense, the song’s way too modern for it to have been intentional. It’s strange – as different as the tunes on this record are, they fit together okay as a collection. Each holds a different feel, mood, mindset, but the tonal approach, especially for drums and guitars, is consistent and crisp. Sprinkles of electronics add flavor and the more plain/acoustic moments do not take away from the more experimental ones.


Free Download: Run Dan Run – “Lovesick Animal”

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