I really did want to like this. After their breathtaking debut album last year, Straylight have been on a role. But everytime I put this on and Michelle sings "I don't want this anymore/Don't wanna wanna give anymore", it feels like the biggest letdown of the year. When Straylight Run announced they were bringing out an EP, especially entitled Prepare To Be Wrong
, I was expecting so huge things in their music.
Like I said, Michelle opens up the album with a choir-esque song. "I Don't Want This Anymore" is a little under 4 minutes, and instantly the mood of the album kicks in. The eerie feel of the electronica melody bouncing off the very boring and slow drum beat. I'll admit it, I thought the drumming was done on computer. This is such a weak introduction song, and isn't followed up that well either. Some people might recognize the next song if they are hardcore SLR fans. It was formerlly "Costello", the never-released "bonus track" of their self-titled album. "It Never Gets Any Easier" has nothing too original, but does sound like the older style of Straylight. Possibly the only link to their album-sound, so hang onto this one. I'm sure a lot of people will remember "A Slow Decent" as well. A demo from their internet 6-song sampler, this has been very revised, and boy has it changed. Piano laced with small bursts of what I can only describe as static noise doesn't add to the mood of John and Michelle's beautiful harmony. John sings about his time with Taking Back Sunday ( “a slow descent from unique to routine” ), a theme which has been whored for too long by this band.
"Later That Year" takes a while to lift off, but it does it is a beautiful acoustic-based anti-war song. Not Straylight's strongpoint, and to be honest, it does just sound like a glorified stab at Bush, a topic that has grown tired now. But finally, we are given a treat. "Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)" is a perfect example of how Straylight could fit with the more electronic-based music scene. The lyrics are probably some of the best the band have written, with words like "Live and love's just like deer in headlights/terrified, blind and waiting to die", and this is the only song on the EP which successfully utilizes effects I think. And the shift into the outro is magnificent, as John screams "Big shot hero, put your hands in the sky" over and over. It's a powerful song, and Straylight pull it off gracefully. We finish the EP with their cover of Bob Dylan's "With God On Our Side". I've had this for a long time, and I do think it's an impressive cover. The piano melody certainly adds depth to the lyrics, and it sounds very haunting the way John and Michelle's vocals blend together.
All in all, there's a slim chance you'll like this if you are a hardcore Straylight fan, since 3 of the songs were released on the Internet beforehand. And if you aren't a hardcore SLR fan, you might still find this hard to get used to and will likely give it nothing more than a listen or two. Still, it's hard to deny that "Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)" is the EP's highlight, an epic 6-minute long mixture of melody and electronica. I know for a fact Straylight Run released thie EP to void their contract with Victory, an act I don't blame them for doing. But still, it feels like it was churned out with no effort at all, and lacks the energy and emotion the album had.
[url]http://www.purevolume.com/straylightrun[/url] (Songs to listen to from review: "Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)")