Straylight Run - The Needles The Space
Progressive is the pace that has been the general theme of sophomore attempts for most bands (yes, Paramore, that's you I'm leaving out). The Fall of Troy, Circa Survive, Bloc Party, and The Arcade Fire delved into their sophomore attempts and out of the assembly line came an album that really progressed how the band was percieved as a musical unit. Now, Straylight Run did that with one EP. Prepare To Be Wrong was completely different group of six songs than their self-titled. Did they continue on this trail? Nope. Instead, they moved on from that and the depressing feel about that EP and continued to build on the fast-pacedness of the self-titled but this time, you can feel a blanket of moodiness on some of the tracks--more so than on the self-titled.
The album's thirteen tracks are the most diverse and varied set of tracks on any album possible but somehow they make the album sound like a cohesive unit. From "The Words We Say" with its happy xylophone attempting to be barely noticed but it ends being the focal point of the song all the way to "The First of the Century" with this acoustic-driven ballad that is likely the most notable example of the vocal improvement of John Nolan. The album features alot more of Michelle, John Nolan's sister. Unlike on the self-titled where the songs that featured primarily her ended up being the album's weak tracks, these tracks are amazing. "The Miracle That Never Came" is probably the flamboyant example of such growth--this fast-paced, toe-tapping jam features her best performance on the whole album. "How Do I Fix Your Head" features Michelle against her enemy, slow-paced songs but against this former, formidable opponent, she brings her gloves and KOs it and doesn't overdo anything.
I could go on about vocal improvement all day, but what makes this album even more enticing is the substantial amounts of musical variety. How you can go from "Who Will Save Us Now," a song oddly reminiscent to any track of Now It's Overhead's Dark Light Daybreak with its winding synth moving with the flow of John Nolan's voice, to "Cover Your Eyes" with Michelle singing along with percussions and John and eventually a choir joins in to really put a good end to the song.
I could go on and on about the diversity between two tracks, but it's really self-evident upon listening to it yourself. The album is an example of growth upon past techniques and shows alot of where Straylight Run will be going in the future with some of its standout tracks. Enjoying this album is probably going to be as easy and second nature as breathing.
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