Review Summary: Traversing past the ordinaryNew Pocket
is a lot
different than Runaway Brother’s debut. Nothing on the whacky, yet cathartic Mother
would leave one to believe a song like “All Saints Day” was around the corner for these guys. The last two-minutes is a spastic, intense pairing of bass and horns – more experimental jazz than something you could really call emo. It’s a guarantee at least several saxophones were completely worn down during the recording of this jarring number. The good news: it’s far from the only track to dive head-first into amusing experimentation for the band. New Pocket
is full of unconventional tweaks - with bongos, fiddles, and saxophone outbursts when you least expect it. While their first album was a great modern take on the genre, this one is a refreshing step forward that feels less busy, yet more experimental. They’re clearly not trying to make every song sound as huge as possible here, but the more relaxed approach works in their favor.
For a band that made fun, by-the-numbers emo on their first go-around, this is a venture into more spacey and unfamiliar territory. It’s slick indie rock that often dials down the intensity -- stretching gentle instrumentals into full-fledged soundscapes. “Canopy Eyes” fits this bill proudly. Besides having a slight Elliott Smith vibe, the song smoothly blends occasional keys with guitar twinkles and the most ethereal vocal performance on the album. “No Fuzz” is another highly atmospheric cut, starting out like a daydream, but morphing into an abrasive last two minutes of guitar distortion and decidedly weird shouting. Another fan favorite is sure to be “Cats in the Sun.” Leaning more towards shoegaze at times, the bright guitar tones are simply warming to the senses. Although their debut was entertaining in its own right, it stuck firmly to the typical emo-revival formula. New Pocket
is much more than that. You never really know what to expect as it plays plays out, which makes for an exciting follow-up. A sophomore slump, this is not.