Review Summary: Run Kid Run sounds like a weaker Jimmy Eat World, but at the core they're still pretty good.
For whatever reason, Jimmy Eat World's Chase This Light didn't quite capture the imagination of fans and critics the way the band's previous records did. To be fair, it wasn't as immediately enjoyable as some of the band's prior releases, but even so, it was still a solid album once you truly got into it. Run Kid Run's sophomore album, Love at the Core is quite similar. While first impressions dictate the 2008 release as nothing more than an unspectacular Jimmy Eat World rip-off, at the core (pardon the pun) the album is fairly good with further listening. Not stunning by any means, but still a decent offering.
In a way, Love at the Core
plays similarly to Chase This Light
. Barring first single, "Captives Come Home", a pensive rocker which bears semblance to Jimmy Eat World's "Work", the album emphasizes a rather optimistic sound. Catchy soundscapes, big choruses, upbeat tempos, and layers of electric guitar are all major parts of Run Kid Run's delivery, and while the band won't get any marks for originality, the song writing is fairly decent. Of course, much of this is made possible by singer/guitarist David Curtis, who channels his inner Jim Adkins throughout the near entirety of Love at the Core
. The centrepiece of Run Kid Run, Curtis' expressive vocal harmonies have an infectious, uplifting tone to them. Opener "Rescue Me" is proof enough, as it relies almost solely on the frontman's talents. However, that isn't to say that the remaining members of Run Kid Run fail to leave their mark on Love at the Core
. "The Emergency" the showcases the band at its most focused. The song lives up to its name, as it is a rather urgent piece which echoes Secret and Whisper's Great White Whale
, which was released back in February. The guitars sound fuller, the drumming is more interesting, and most importantly, the song writing is the most varied of anything Run Kid Run has to offer. While it doesn't have the same pop sensibilities as "Captives Come Home" or even "Fall Into the Light", The Emergency" is most well-rounded song on Love at the Core
, and easily a standout.
While song-in and song-out Love at the Core
is a decidedly entertaining listen, it does hit a rut in some of the more technical areas. Run Kid Run's abundant (some could say over reliance) use of catchy pop-punk hooks make for memorable, radio-friendly anthems individually, but as a unit Love at the Core
feels kind of predictable at times. It isn't difficult to recognize Run Kid Run's penchant for potential radio hits, they just have to vary up their sound a tad bit. Also of concern is James Paul Wisner's work on the production. Though the sleek pop sheen fits the band's uplifting, radio friendly sound, the album sometimes feels a little overproduced. This is especially notable during the sugar-coated ballads, "Freedom" and "My Sweet Escape", and while it isn't a huge deal, given Love at the Core
's pop leanings, it's still somewhat bothersome.
All in all though, Love at the Core is a solid pop punk record. Given their likeness to Jimmy Eat World, Run Kid Run won't likely surprise listeners, but with their upbeat style, Run Kid Run should at the very least impress fans of pop-rock/punk. Love at the Core
does have its flaws; however, keeping the band's relatively young age in perspective, they should be able to mature and grow as songwriters. Love at the Core
's highlights testify this much.