Review Summary: The first exceptional emo record of 2015
In the past year or so, Tiny Engines has rightfully become the go-to label for promising emo talent. With bands like The Hotelier and Somos making huge waves in 2014, one couldn’t be blamed for eagerly anticipating what’s in store for them next from the thriving label. Enter Runaway Brother, an emo/rock hybrid with big shoes to fill; thankfully, they’re more than up to the task on their engaging debut, Mother.
The band’s first full length effort is ridiculously entertaining and eccentric, with vocalist Jacob Lee fueling the band’s sound with his commanding and theatrical performance. His voice possesses a mixture of angsty charm, which demands the listener’s attention around every corner. It’s not a far cry from what’s worked for acts like The Front Bottoms or Modern Baseball , but Runaway Brother bring enough new ideas to the table to keep their debut sounding fresh. Take closing track ‘Youniverse’ for example -- an irresistible 7-minute send-off that begs for repeated listens with its layered guitar-work and explosive conclusion. Not convinced" Just see how many times you can count a tempo change in any given song on the album. Rather than following the typical verse-chorus-verse format, each tune feels meticulously crafted, with the superb musicianship and songwriting keeping it all intact. It’s quite the telling accomplishment, and by the time each track runs its course, it’s nearly an unrecognizable shell of what it once was.
With the recent resurgence of the genre some are calling an “emo revival,” it’s not hard to figure out why Runaway Brother’s debut is able to match the quality of their peers. Mother
finds the band firing on all cylinders –whether it’s the way the vocals seamlessly transition between gruff and gentle, or the groovy solos that are glittered throughout. The guitar work is also satisfyingly crunchy and piano notes dance around flamboyantly in the background of several tracks. To top it all off, the lyrics are about as clever as you will find in this style of music… and that’s just the icing on the cake. Due to the band’s refusal to stick to ordinary song structures, each track is strengthened with a genuine sense of longevity. It’s the kind of album you’ll have on repeat for weeks, and even then you’ll feel as though you haven’t discovered every nook and cranny. Not too shabby for a group of boys from the suburbs of Ohio. In fact, their peers should probably start taking notes.