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Runners - 'Dark Circles' EP Review


1. Disguise

2. House Not A Home

3. Monday

4. Inside Out

One thing I’ve noticed (and I’m sure you have too, this isn’t some hot take) is that some foods taste better raw than cooked. Like carrots and peas are (in this writer’s humble opinion) much better before they’ve had the crunch cooked out of them. Some foods are better cooked than raw, like chicken or sausages, and some are just as good both ways - like bread; it’s lush when it’s fresh, but nothing beats a slice of buttered toast. Yes, I know bread is actually cooked, but just go with me on this one.

Northumbrian band Runners would be the first to admit that their debut EP, ‘Dark Circles’ is pretty raw. They’re a new band, and like most new bands, I would imagine that they’ve got into the studio as soon as they could, to get their music recorded for posterity and to reach a larger audience. Many new bands create a live sound, then struggle to replicate or at least translate it on their very first attempt; whilst Runners have produced a record that’s very different to their live show, the music does shine through, and it’s glorious stuff. So, I’m not going to waffle on about the production of this EP, as really- what we’re all interested in, is the music itself.

‘Dark Circles’ is a hot pot (or pan haggerty, if you’re from the North East) of musical styles; the opening track is a sort of Nu-Metal, Hardcore hybrid. If you try and imagine Korn meeting Pixies, then you wouldn’t be a million miles off; the loud-quiet shifts being particularly reminiscent of the latter. So the downward shift of gear to the heartfelt vulnerable vocals and acoustic guitar of ‘House Not A Home’, sort of makes sense, and it’s bloody lovely. ‘Monday’ has an almost Garage Rock feel to it, with an incredibly catchy chorus that I’ve caught myself singing on numerous occasions since I started listening to the record. Finishing track ‘Inside Out’ is punchy and staccato in the verse, before a heavier chorus.

This isn’t a highly polished gem of a record and, if it was, I’d be incredibly sceptical; Runners are a new band in the North East, and they should be concentrating on developing their craft rather than top end production values. Judging by the songs they’re writing and performing, they’re doing just that, and they’re only going to get better.

Review - Jon Stokes

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