EP Review: RED LIGHT RUNNER – “What Are You Thinking About?”

My spotlight is still on the UK, where I now review the new EP What Are You Thinking About? from alternative indie post-punk rock band Red Light Runner, which dropped today, October 21st. The 5-track EP is their first release since their successful 2014 double-sided single “Lucky Thirteen/Just Might Find,” which itself arrived nearly seven years after their debut self-titled EP was released in December  2007. Those earlier tracks hold up well but, musically and lyrically, the band really ups their game with this new EP.

Hailing from Kent, Red Light Runner includes Dan Balson (Guitar, Lead Vocals), Russell France (Guitar), Lee Vickery (Bass) and Joe Michael (Drums).  Their fresh, high-energy music sounds like what you’d get if Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World jointly gave birth to a new band. Catchy hooks, driving beats, assertive drums and lively, multi-textured guitars are the hallmarks of their songs. Although many of the lyrics address problematic relationships, this EP will have you on your feet from start to finish. Whether intentional or not, these are all songs meant to be performed live, and I’m sure these guys put on a great show.

red-light-runner

The EP starts off strong with “First Time,” as we’re hit with a barrage of shredded guitars and hammering drums. The track settles into a hard-driving rhythm with heavy melodic riffs, and Balson sings of disillusionment over a relationship turned sour. This is an exhilarating song that kicks ass!

The title track and first single “What Are You Thinking About?” speaks to living your own truth rather than wanting another’s life or living according to the expectations of others: “Someone else’s life is played out inside your head / Now it’s time to live the moments you have instead / Don’t allow yourself to lock you out / Always trust someone to turn you around / When you fall it seems a long way down / What are you thinking about?”  Rapid-paced guitars work in tandem with heavy bass and pummeling drums, resulting in a terrific song. This track, as well as others on the EP, feature backing vocals by songstress Charlie Dorrell.

Gnashing guitars announce the arrival of “Make You Pay,” another hard-driving track about bitterness over a failed relationship: “We’ve seen this road before, and I don’t think you understand / Another time, another place, another time and the moment slips too far away / I seem to find all my life, I’m left behind / I’ll make you pay.”  The powerful guitar riffs on this track are awesome, made even more so by Joe Michael’s thunderous percussion.

One of my favorite tracks is “Right Place Wrong Time.” The song rocks quite nicely, but with a bit more poignancy and, once again, the guitar riffs are superb, soaring to an ear-splitting distorted crescendo at the end. Charlie Dorrell’s sublime vocals are also more apparent on this track. The final track “Be Mine Again” is a rousing number, with more of the band’s signature complex, pummeling riffs and speaker-blowing percussion. The song addresses the singer’s need to survive life’s hardships: “Need to get out, pick myself up, carry on, and this world will be mine again.

I have to admit that it took a few listens for me to fully appreciate the quality and depth of the songs and lyrics, but my conclusion is that this is a very well-crafted EP that gets better with each listen. These guys are really accomplished musicians who coax some awesome sounds from their instruments, and the lyrics are not as obvious as they seem at first glance – or should I say listen?  Support these guys by following them on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to their Youtube channel. Stream their music on Spotify, and purchase their music on BandcampiTunes or other sites offering music for purchase.

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