Monday, 16 September 2019

Album Review: Sweet Tooth by The Hung Ups


Sweet Tooth is the new EP from Salt Lake City pop punks The Hung Ups. The three piece first came to our attention last year with their EP Insanity Plea, which was one of my favourite pop punk releases of the year. Taking 90s style snotty pop punk and bringing it to the 21st century, it was a throwback to a genre that I hadn't realised I missed as much as I did. This is why I was excited to discover that The Hung Ups had released Sweet Tooth at the beginning of August.


Sweet Tooth begins with Halloween Show. The opening of the track immediately fills you with energy and builds superbly as you wait for the vocals to come in. When they did I was kind of expecting them to explode out of my speakers, because of the tension that the intro built up, but they sadly felt a bit flat. That flatness however didn't prevent me from quickly being able to sing along. The track is about a night out at a gig on Halloween and how the narrator didn't want to go but was dragged and of course it turned out to be a good night. The message here being that sometimes it's good to force yourself to do things you don't want to as you might enjoy yourself. I'll Never Be Gone goes down the opposite route and talks about wanting to take someone out. While the vocals on Halloween Show felt slightly flat at the beginning, on I'll Never Be Gone they were full of life. I wonder if this was done on purpose given the more positive mood the singer is in at the start of the song. As snotty pop punk songs go, this is actually quite a sweet love song – not something I really expected from The Hung Ups.

Pessimist, you might be shocked to discover, is quite a negative song about being convinced the girl of your dreams doesn't want to be with you. This song, out of the four on Sweet Tooth, is the biggest throwback track, particularly with the huge amount of whoa-ohs scattered throughout. I love how accessible this song and the other three on Sweet Tooth are. I was happily singing along to all of them soon after listening to them. The final of the four songs on the EP is named Basement Dweller. Things are looking more positive for The Hung Ups here as they sing about finding a girl who loves you despite all the things about you that might be seen as a negative, such as borrowing your parents car and living in their basement. Towards the end of the track, the lyrics "Halloween is our favourite day" makes the EP seem as if it's gone full circle. This really shows some great attention to detail in the writing of the EP and the thought process in the track order – which is always so important.

I really loved the previous EP, Insanity Plea, but I think Sweet Tooth shows a huge step forward for The Hung Ups. I was reminded of bands such as Screeching Weasel and early Allister throughout and it gives me that fuzzy feeling that I don't often get from a lot of pop punk bands these days. It feels like there is a lot of heart in these songs and it's not just snotty in-your-face pop punk. A fantastic EP.

Stream and download Sweet Tooth here: https://thehungups.bandcamp.com/

Like The Hung Ups here: http://www.facebook.com/thehungups

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Column: Why Hate When You Can Love?


Something that's really been getting on my nerves is all the negativity surrounding musicians on the Internet. It seems that all people want to do is bitch and moan about things that they don't like rather than talk about things they enjoy and I don't understand it.

Recently, a fairly controversial and polarising figure in the UK punk scene released a new album and my Twitter feed became full of hate and negativity towards them. Before going any further, I feel like I should point out the person in question has not done anything illegal to earn the ire of the punk community nor have they, as far as I'm aware, done anything to hurt anyone associated with it. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. As far as I'm aware, all they've done to offend folk is have political views that others don't agree with and come from a privileged background (something that's not their fault). I find it very interesting that a lot of people are getting annoyed by these things now that the artist in question is quite popular in the mainstream rather than when they were making music that fit in more with the punks. That's just an opinion though and not actually what the point of this column actually is.

I used to love the artist in question and some of their earlier albums were among my favourite releases of the time. Then they started to expand their sound and I slowly but surely began to fall off the wagon. But do you know what I did? It wasn't take to the Internet to complain that someone I liked is now making music that I don't with some kind of egotistical view that people should make music specifically for my tastes. What I did was go find a bunch more artists and bands that I do love that I didn't before and I moved on. I evolved.

We are lucky enough to live in a time when it has never been easier to get access to new music. Very often for free – and totally legally as well. On the line there are numerous streaming services, music websites and blogs (like the one you are reading right now), most of which have some kind of discover new music section where you can – you guessed it – discover new music! Madness! Not the band, they're old, unless you're just discovering them, then they are new music. I have an app on my phone called Level Up Life where you gain imaginary XP for doing simple tasks in your life that are designed to improve you as a person, one of those things is find a new band you love. So almost every day I set aside five or ten minutes just to find a new band that I love. Then I tell people about it. It's a nice feeling to find a band that you enjoy and then to suggest them to someone else and they then also love it. I find that really rewarding, much more rewarding than telling somebody how rubbish something is.

Social Media is such a big part of our lives now that sometimes it can be quite hard to remember what we did before it? Did we spend out spare time telling people how much we don't like something? I don't remember doing so, it seems a pretty odd concept really. I've noticed from doing CPRW, and from speaking to people, that people seem to be far more interested in reading something that is negative rather than positive. It seems as if a negative headline is more clickbait than a positive one. That's really weird. Almost everyone is guilty of it, myself included – I guess our brains are wired that way. Before social media took over our lives, this was still the case with gossip. We are all guilty of enjoying a bit of gossip now and again. Gossip was, and still is, a way of talking about news that tends to detail someones misfortune. If it was talking about something nice that's happened to someone, that's just good news and it doesn't seem to spread anywhere as quickly as gossip does.

I know there is a counter argument that people like to have a good moan or whatever else about things they don't like because it makes them feel better. I get that, getting out your frustrations about something is a great form of catharsis. I love a good rant about something. Emma loves it when I come home from work and just destroy everything that's got on my nerves or even made me angry during that day. It happens far too frequently, perhaps I need a new job? For me though, I have my rant and move on and focus on something that I like. When I have a bad day, I like to come home and focus on something I like, not something that I hate. I assume that's not just me?

In my ideal world, we would only ever talk about the music we love and champion that rather than spend time moaning about something we don't like. I know it's a very idealistic and probably quite naïve vision but it would be lovely. Surely the music scene in general, not just punk rock, would be a much better place in a community sense as well as a commercial one if everyone just focussed on what they like. My favourite conversations with people are talking about music we like – even if I don't always enjoy what the other person does, it's great to hear people talking passionately about something they love. It's also got to be better for a person's mental health. I learnt from doing some cognitive behaviour therapy a few years ago that I will feel much happier when I'm thinking about things I enjoy rather than getting annoyed by things I don't. It's common sense really!

In closing this probably quite disjointed column/article/essay/maybe-hypocritical-rant I have a small request: Next time you hear something you don't enjoy, instead of taking to the world wide web and telling everybody that something is rubbish; stop yourself, find something you like and post about that instead. I think you'll feel better about it and you'll be sharing cool music, as well as helping out one of your favourite bands.

This column was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Top Tens: Emma’s Top Ten Guilty Pleasures


As Colin’s Top Ten Guilty Pleasures list the other week was pretty popular, we’ve decided to make a series of it. (If you haven’t read Colin’s post then please do check it out here.) Guilty pleasures are always going to be subjective and I don’t doubt that you may not relate to the ten in my list, these are just ten songs that I quite like myself.

Colin ordered his list alphabetically by artist name, so I will do the same:

The All-American Rejects – Swing, Swing
Alphabetisation deems that I get my most ‘punk’ song out of the way first, albeit super poppy pop punk in my opinion. The All-American Rejects’ debut album ought to be too poppy and ‘whiney-broken-hearted-teenage-boy’ for my general tastes but I do have a soft spot for some of the songs on it. Most memorable is catchy lead single Swing, Swing. I also saw the band live ten or so years ago, which I can’t say about anything else on this list.

Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
This is the newest song on my list, having only been released last year although I did have to Google ‘Psycho song’ to actually find out who the artist was. I first heard this catchy little dance-pop tune on a Spotify playlist at work and enjoyed it more than most of the other rubbish that gets played on those sort of lists. However, I’ve been enjoying the track more recently as it is used in my Body Step exercise class!

Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Bon Jovi in general are definitely seen as a guilty pleasure to some but certainly not to Mama Prew. I grew up listening to a lot of Bon Jovi and I didn’t much like it at the time. I can appreciate them for what they are now and I’m glad my mum had a band she was passionate about. There are probably far better Bon Jovi songs than Livin’ On A Prayer – and, if I thought about it, I could probably pick one I like more – but this is the best song to scream along to. ‘Whoa-OH!’

Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You
This is the the first song I remember liking as a child. It was released in 1995 so I would have been about 4 years old. There’s just something about the tune that I liked, I think. The song does have a pretty cool effect-heavy guitar riff that runs throughout it. That’s about all I have to say on this one.

Elton John / The Lion King – Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
The Lion King is my favourite film of all time – the original 1994 film that is. The whole soundtrack is my guilty pleasure… in fact, I probably feel less guilty about it than anything else on this list. I love it so much that I even own it on vinyl. As this is a guilty pleasures list though, I’ve picked the most cheesy lovey-dovey song on the soundtrack. And, as much as I also love Elton John, it has to be the version with Timon, Pumba, Nala and Simba.

Junior Senior – Move Your Feet
Junior Senior were a Danish pop duo who, in 2003, released one of the most infectiously catchy songs of the year – of the decade even. Great music, pretty good lyrics and a brilliant 8-bit music video as well. I don’t think there will be too many people reading this who don’t think this song is a TUNE. I don’t know if Junior Senior actually released any other songs in the UK after this but sometimes the best songs are one hit wonders.

Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River
Justin Timberlake is an artist that I don’t ever go out of my way to listen to but if someone was to put his songs on, at work or wherever, I would secretly quite enjoy it. I guess his debut album, Justified, is the best place to start and Cry Me A River stands out to me. I don’t know, the combination of synthesisers, electric piano, beatboxing and backing vocals is just really pleasing to the ear.

Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance
80s new wave/synth pop is just the best, isn’t it? I would argue that this sort of song is so widely loved as a ‘guilty pleasure’ that it’s actually not very guilty anymore. I have a particular soft spot for this song because my housemate at uni Joel and his best pal Richard used to always put the song on all of our pre-drinks playlists. Fun fact: Apparently, the song was written after Men Without Hats singer Ivan Doroschuk had been kicked out of a club for pogo dancing.

Shakira – Whenever, Wherever
Who doesn’t like panpipes in their pop songs? I sure do anyway. Shakira combined traditional Latin American and Andean music with modern pop music and created this worldwide smash hit that, at least in the mainstream, sounded unlike anything else at the time. I also like the song She Wolf because I enjoy howling along (I love wolves) but the song is more electro-pop and less original-sounding, if you ask me.

Starship – We Built This City
And finally we have more glorious 80s music, this time from US pop rock band Starship. It seems, according to Wikipedia, that this song has appeared on several ‘worst songs of all time’ lists but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it. Even if part of my enjoyment comes from singing ‘We built this city on [vegan] sausage rolls!’.

So there we have it, now I’ll go back to listening to punk rock…

This top ten was written by Emma Prew.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Album Review: Whatever... This Sucks by The Mizzerables


Like many of my discoveries this year, I found out about The Mizzerables because I happen to follow the Bandcamp user Rojarax. I've never met the man but boy does he have some great taste in music. The Mizzerables are a Chicago based three piece pop punk band. Lead by Jeff Mizzi (formerly of Common Rider, Ten Ninety and About The Mess) and accompanied by Dave Vazzano and Korey Brisendine, The Mizzerables released a new fourteen track album named Whatever... This Sucks in August. On my first listen I was instantly hooked.


The album begins with the song Gravity which was originally released as a single before Whatever... This Sucks came out. This was a great choice as it's a great introduction to The Mizzerables, if you didn't already know them. Starting out with some buzzing guitar and a pounding drumbeat, you immediately get the sense that this is going to be a fast paced pop punk record. It's also super accessible, with the lyrics structured in short, sharp lines and a super catchy chorus that you will pick up in no time at all. As much as I enjoyed Gravity, it was the second song F.K.I. that really hooked me into the album. It's a song about life not going how you want it to and it bringing you down mentally. The line "if failure to success I'm fucking killing it" is the real stand out line that caught my attention immediately. I really like how the song is set out like a conversation with Mizzi asking the listener how they're doing after talking about what's going on in his own life. I thought this was a great way to subliminally reach out to a crowd without them even noticing. The melody of the third track, Crabby Crab, delighted me on my very first listen. It's a kind of a bouncy ska/country/folk rhythm played alongside such fast paced pop punk. That description really doesn't give it the credit it deserves. It's just a lot of fun and will get you to have a great boogie. On the track, Mizzi plays the role of a crab who isn't the most friendly of crabs to hang out with who wants to convince that special crab he likes that he's not all bad and they should spend time together.

The best way of describing the sound of Better Off Dead is if Tony Sly sang for Teenage Bottlerocket, that's what this track sounds like to me and you know what? I really love it. The song returns to the topic of mental health, with this time Mizzi singing about your brain really bringing you down to the point of you thinking it might be best to end it all. (It never is). I always mention how important it is for everyone to continue to talk about mental health and songs like this are great for people to realise they are not alone with how they're feeling and will hopefully encourage them to go and get some help. Every Once In A While sees The Mizzerables slow things down slightly with a mid-tempo pop song about loving your friend and always being there for them whatever they might be going through. This is a really sweet song that you don't hear enough of. The lyrics in the chorus are perfect – "but every once in a while you hold my hand, when the world comes down and no one understands, so from now till the end know that I'm here my friend, my love and this will never bend." The added harmonies subtlety layered in add an extra bit of emotion has Mizzi pours his heart out. The sixth song, Let's Go, is about escaping from all your mundane life and go on an adventure with your special someone. It's a slower song but feels full of optimism. It sometimes feels like a rare occurrence to find a punk song that is optimistic – that says a lot about the state of the world currently – so Let's Go is a breath of fresh air.

Still Kickin' Around looks at the topic of getting older and still being in bands and still singing about the things that are important to you even if times have perhaps moved on. This song is one that all the aging punk rockers will really relate to whether they play in bands or not. For the most part it's a relaxed performance by The Mizzerables, at times it feels like a pleasant jam between pals. There are however some fantastic bass lines and guitar solos spread throughout the song that do add an extra flavour to the track. Up next is the title track Whatever... This Sucks. This pounding pop punk track sees The Mizzerables jump back into the murky waters of mental health, particularly how depression can just make you zone out from everything in the world and how rubbish it is. Throughout the song I was really reminded of the melody from a Me First & The Gimme Gimmes cover. I can't quite put my finger on which track it is but there is definitely a feeling of familiarity about the melody. This helped me get on board with the song straight away though. Suburbia is one of my favourite songs on Whatever... This Sucks. It's a humorous song about daydreaming about living in suburbia and getting there but quickly discovering it's not for you. This is one of those songs where you can kind of picture the music video for the song, The Mizzerables do such a great job of painting a picture with their lyrics. The song is packed with great lines, my particular favourite is "We're gonna hang shit on the walls, put some hardwood in the halls, take our trash out to the curb, and say hi to Bob and Kim."

The Mizzerables bring up the pace and aggression on Reverie. On my first listen I was instantly thinking of early Descendents songs with some of the snarl in Mizzi's vocals, the prominent bass lines and the slightly out-there guitar parts. It's a short and repetitive song about trying to push down your daydreams instead of trying to achieve them. I loved this change of pace on the album, it really gave it a little boost that was perhaps needed at this stage. The pace continues on Sticks And Stones. Channelling some old school Green Day with the sound of this one, Sticks And Stones is about that person who for some reason needs to constantly cut people down with their words to feel better about themselves. I was so impressed with the drumming on this track, it doesn't sound overly complicated but the speed it's played at throughout is really impressive. It proves the theory that songs don't always have to be unnecessarily intricate to be a good show. Simple and to the point also works very well. Dancing On Your Grave has a modern pop punk sound that hooked me from the start. After a big intro, the music drops out and Mizzi's vocals come in. This was a great way to start the song as it had me ready to sing along from the start. It's fast paced and loaded with hooks that keep you listening throughout. The track is about someone who lives life to a high excess who ultimately dies even after being given plenty of warnings about their health.

The penultimate song is titled Forty Five. This bouncy track offers a completely different sound to anything else so far on Whatever... This Sucks. It's great that thirteen tracks into the album The Mizzerables are still pulling new tricks out of their hat. The melody makes Forty Five feel as much like a barroom sing-along as it does a punk rock song and I'm all about that. The song laments the current state of politics in the USA in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. Sarcastically drinking toasts to all the hypocrisy that is going on currently. The fourteenth and final song on the album is Thoughts And Prayers. It's not often you come across albums that are fourteen tracks long these days, people just don't have the attention span for them. Because of this, Thoughts And Prayers needed to be an absolute banger. I can happily report that Thoughts And Prayers is a banger. A big banger in fact. The introduction builds up slowly before the genius lyrics of "pressure cooker heats up" come in. I don't know if this was done on purpose but I did get a kick out of it. The first third of the track chugs along, slowly building to a big chorus that is full of emotion. Interestingly the song adds a rapper during the song, giving the song a completely different musical element that works really well. The song really comes into its own on the big finale where the chorus and rap sections come together, harmonising with each other and sounding incredible. A fine way to finish a fine album.

Stream and download Whatever... This Sucks here: https://themizzerables.bandcamp.com/

Like The Mizzerables here: https://www.facebook.com/themizzerables/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Album Review: No Faith by Omnigone


When an email appears in my inbox which suggests that a band is for fans of Link 80, Mustard Plug and Less Than Jake, you know I'm very interested. Hailing from California's East Bay, Omnigone are the new ska band on the scene but they certainly aren't strangers to it. Fronted by former Link 80 guitarist Adam Davis, Omnigone have picked up the torch that the East Bay ska legends left behind by blending ska, punk and hardcore to create the awesome debut No Faith which is released on the 13th of September by Bad Time Records. Joining Davis is former Link 80 bass player Barry Krippene and a rotating cast of musicians including Brent Friedman (We Are The Union), Steve Borth (Rx Bandits/Link 80), Justin Amans (Kitty Kat Fan Club/Obikubo Station), Jeremy Hunter (Skatune Network/We Are The Union), Bootie Pook (Beat the Red Light/The Filaments/Redeemon), Aaron Carnes (Flat Planet) and Reece Noble. With such a talented group of musicians working on this project, I had really high hopes for this one.


No Faith begins with BTC. Ensuring that the album gets off to a ferocious start, this is a less than two minutes long hardcore song. Aggression and energy pour out of this opener, ensuring that the listener is pumped up immediately for what is to come. Up next is Horizontal Aggression. When the track begins it has you wondering if it's going to be another fast hardcore song but it quickly morphs into a bouncy skacore track that will get you skanking. It is also so catchy that you'll be singing along very quickly. It's a song that calls for unity and for fighting parties to come together and stand up to the real enemy. The simple chorus works wonderfully with the message of the song, bringing everyone listening together. The third song, Keep On, sees Omnigone venture into slightly more punk rock territory. They slow things down on this infectiously positive track about not letting the world stop you from going after what you want. The chorus of "keep pushing forward, soldier on, keep your head down, keep moving on, no-one stand in your way, live for yourself today, keep your head down, keep moving on" are some inspiring lyrics. Reggae track Rather Be Alone is the only song on No Faith that gets anywhere close to being three minutes long. On this track we encounter a laid back sounding Omnigone, showcasing a completely different side of themselves. Adam Davis shows off a real versatility in his voice, sounding equally great whether he's crooning on a reggae track or screaming for a hardcore song.

Stitch In Time sees the pace brought right back up for this short ska punk banger which has the addition of horns for the first time on No Faith. This song is a lot of fun, the first half being a fun skankathon before the song gets more intense towards the end, leading you into a great mosh moment. It's about not worrying too much about being on time for things as it brings unnecessary stress to your life. Title track No Faith comes next and sees Omnigone go back to that aggressive hardcore style that started the album. They do however change things slightly by adding some horns. I really like how they're subtlety layered in rather than being completely in your face, they're used to add a building element and to add a bit of drama without going overboard. Krippene's bass playing really stands out on the song, really laying down a fantastic rhythm to break up the hoarse screaming from Davis. Six Feet Down was a stand out on my first listen of the album. There's a stripped back almost scratchy sound reminding me of early Rancid and the Suicide Machines. This makes it all the more accessible for the listener, you'll be singing along in no time at all. Six Feet Down looks at the subject of mental health, particularly struggling with the pressures of modern life and if the voices in your head will allow you to get through another day. This is one of those important mental health songs I can see a lot of people relating to and it will hopefully offer them some kind of catharsis.

The eighth song is a cover of the Vantana Row song On Wednesdays I Am Going To Make It. I had no idea who Vantana Row are but after a quick Spotify search I discovered an angry sounding electronic hip hop crossover act. Omnigone take the song and turn it into a skacore/crack rocksteady song and really make the song their own. They perfectly balance the harder side of skacore and the more melody driven crack rocksteady sound with one genre not overpowering the other. If you weren't aware that this was a cover, you would easily think this was an Omnigone original. New Way talks about the changes in what it's like being in a band now compared to what it was like twenty years ago. This is easiest the poppiest sounding song on No Faith and it's a fun walk down memory lane. It's amazing when you think about how much things must have changed for musicians in such a short space of time. Davis looks back fondly at those times but I can't help but think that touring is much easier now. When I saw the title of the tenth song, Burn It Down, I instantly knew that this would be a fast paced hardcore track. It's such a big contrast to New Way but doesn't really affect the flow of the album like you think it might. It's quite hard to make out the lyrics but I'm pretty sure I'm right to assume it's about setting fire to all the bad things that are happening and rebuilding for something better. There's such ferocity and intensity on this song, it really makes you care about the message.

Omnigone released a music video for the eleventh song Rewrite History – interesting that they decided to make a video for the shortest song on No Faith. Rewrite History is a horn driven ska punk track, it's perhaps the more traditional sounding ska punk song on the entire album. I wonder if this was the point as Davis talks about the past and how things, for better or worse, are coming around again and you can't change it. The breakdown really put a big smile on my face even if it did feel a bit tongue-in-cheek. The penultimate track is named Obituary and is a positive song about making sure you live your life to the fullest so that when you die you leave behind some fantastic stories. This song features my favourite lyrics of the entire album and perhaps the entire year – "tomorrow isn't promised, so live for today." Obituary starts out as a bouncy ska track before gradually moving into a straight up punk track. This upped intensity really adds to the passion and energy of the track. I really hope to be able to sing this song back at the band at some point. No Faith is finished by West Coast East Bay. Finishing the album how it began with a fast paced hardcore song ensures that No Faith doesn't finish with a whimper but with a bang. It starts out seriously fast before halfway through we are treated to a slower paced head banging section with some seriously hoarse growling vocals before picking the speed right back up to finish the song and the album. West Coast East Bay is an ode to the San Francisco scene that welcomes all newcomers no matter what their background might be. It sounds like a fantastic community to be involved in.

No Faith completely blew me away. I loved the fast frenzied approach to the songwriting as well as the variation in styles. No two songs in a row sound the same. This keeps the album so fresh and constantly has you guessing what will come next. Lyrically it's superb with many positive messages that will inspire and help in equal measure. This isn't an album just for ska nerds, if you love punk rock then this is an essential album for you to check out immediately.

Stream and download No Faith here: https://omnigone.bandcamp.com/album/no-faith

Like Omnigone here: https://www.facebook.com/0MNIG0NE/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Album Review: In Motion by The Run Up


I don't think it's any secret that we're massive fans of The Run Up here at CPRW towers. Aside from being a fantastic band who write and perform brilliant songs, they are also among the nicest and hardest working people we've had the pleasure of meeting from the UK DIY scene. They have this wonderful ethos of going on tour and making new friends, something I think is very important for a DIY band. This is big reason that The Run Up are becoming more and more popular wherever they go. That set at Molotow Club in Hamburg during Booze Cruise Festival in June was one of the most incredible 40 minutes of music I've seen ever. Despite the mega long European tours, somehow The Run Up have also found time to write and record their second LP titled In Motion. Released on 3rd October by Real Ghost Records and Gunner Records in the UK/Europe and Get Party Records, La Escalera Records, Money Pit Music, Swamp Cabbage Records and &Vinyl Records in North America, I was super excited to be given the opportunity for an early listen.


In Motion begins with Portraits. If you've seen The Run Up live this summer then there is a good chance you've already heard this song. The Bristol five piece start In Motion in a big way here with this superb song about the ridiculous standards that all forms of social media make you think that you need to reach and how it's good to step away from it occasionally. The Run Up have always been great at finding positives in a negative scenario and they do the same here. On this occasion, it's realising that you don't have to reach these standards and just being happy with who you are. The final gang vocals are one of the most powerful moments of the entire album as the band shout "a portrait of life, that you know, we can never live up to." The following song, Grip, continues the theme of self-realisation. This time Larry sings about trying to please everyone else instead of worrying about yourself and discovering you will be happier if you do that. Musically the band take a bit of a backseat on the track, allowing Larry to belt out the verses before really coming in for the chorus. The third song, titled Your Omission, looks at how people with the closest of relationships can sometimes drift apart because of different life experiences. I'm certain this is something most people will relate to in one way or another, sometimes without even realising it. It feels like one of the more emotional Run Up tracks, the whole tone feels quite sad as they look back on good times that will never be repeated.

Starting a bit backwards with the fourth track Discretion – when I first heard it, the thing that really stood out was the amazing harmony section that sets up the song’s ending. I loved this. Discretion is about things coming to an end earlier than expected. The opening guitars from Charlie Parsons and Laurence Nelson give the song a great pop sound from the start and, when Larry gets going with his vocals, the song sounds absolutely massive. They also play around with some distortion during the track, giving an atmospheric, haunting feel. The opening of Sunsets fills the track with this infectious energy that had me excited to see where the song would go. Rather than being the fast paced banger that I was expecting, things actually slow down a little bit and morph into this huge sounding track about having fantastic experiences with your loved ones but also being mindful of their feelings about them. There's the anthemic quality that The Run Up excel at in full effect on Sunsets which will get you singing along in no time at all. Check brings us to the halfway point of In Motion. It allows (now former) drummer Harry Holder to really show off his skills during the song’s opening with a pounding drumbeat before some buzzing guitars join him and the song really starts. The drums really stand out throughout the song, providing a superb spine for the rest of the band to work off of. It's about being honest and communicating properly as it's the only way to overcome what life throws at you.

The seventh song, Sticky, was a real stand out on my first listen of In Motion. It tells the story of when the band earned the opportunity to play at a big corporate gig last winter but due to some communication errors something that should have been a huge moment for The Run Up ended with them having some sad and bitter memories. I do enjoy an autobiographical song and Larry's lyrics really do a fantastic job in telling how the evening went and how their feelings changed throughout the night. Shields Up follows this and is a song about protecting yourself mentally when you're not feeling your best mentally by putting walls up. This is another mid-tempo Run Up anthem that really comes alive during the chorus. There's some fantastic noodly guitar riffs that add some playfulness to the track and there's another superb display of drumming that keeps the song moving forward. The ninth song, Shady, is about hearing negative rumours about the band how sad it is to hear them from people that they care about. This is one of the most downhearted Run Up songs I've heard. There seems to be a feeling of understandable sadness alongside being really fed up with the situation.

Light It Up sees a more ferocious Run Up song with Larry's voice seemingly at its most gruff. But don't let that fool you, as the song is about realising how lucky you are and being there when anyone needs you. This isn't just a gimmick that The Run Up play up to, this really is the type of people they are. Real good, stand up guys who are always accepting, up for a chat and willing to help if they can. The song starts in a hard and quite intense way but, as it progresses, the song moves towards a big powerful sing-along that I can already see a crowd of passionate people adoring. The penultimate song on In Motion is titled The Run Up. The song looks into the pressures of being in a touring band and trying to keep normal relationships going when you're away from home as well as remembering to follow your own dream and not get mixed up in somebody else's. I really like this as a subject for a song, it's not one you hear regularly but it must be something a lot of bands go through. Larry sings about understanding that at some point people will have to leave the band and they'll always accept that decision. ADAC is the final song on the album, starting out with some feedback accompanying a dreamy guitar riff before the song starts proper. If you're aware of The Run Up's history as a band, then you will probably know how bad their luck with vans can be when they're on tour. This bad luck has made them stronger as a band but, more importantly, as friends. Finding companionship in the midst of stress and disaster is good for the brain. The overarching message of the song is about how if you work together through the bad times you can overcome anything. This is the kind of positive message I fully expect The Run Up to finish an album with.

Simply put, this is The Run Up's best album yet. Everything about this record seems to see the band going up another level – from the songs, to the musicianship, the vocals and the production. The Run Up have been working their socks off for a while now, building up such a passionate and loving group of fans and friends, and In Motion is going to expand that group.

Follow The Run Up on Bandcamp here: https://therunupuk.bandcamp.com/

Like The Run Up here: https://www.facebook.com/therunupuk

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Column: Katie MF Scottish Tour Diary


Prologue/Preamble

It’s hard to write on a train. Because of the vibration, yes, but also because Yorkshire looks ridiculous in the late afternoon August sunshine.

Ben, Tobias and I have all ended up on different trains – a feat of logistical ineptitude that I’m sure will pale in comparison to the next few days. Trying to get a drunk, culture-loving bassist to a gig at the official campsite tomorrow (a mere 30 minute tram ride out of town) is going to be… challenging.

I’m writing this in the company of a can of Stella and a Kit Kat, by way of a small, private, celebration. Earlier today the lovely people at Banquet Records confirmed me as support for Frank Turner’s album release show (Friday 23rd August) and I’m giggling to/shitting myself in equal measure. For better or worse, his music and live shows are pretty much the reason I started trying to do my own – I have literally dreamed about this.

Anyway, back to now. Tobias, on his train, has found himself with nowhere to store the 25kgs of hardware he’s lugging to Scotland for us, and is therefore spending the journey camped in the vestibule:


And there was me thinking that taking a couple of days off work was commitment. Edinburgh, here we come.


Thursday evening

We arrive at Cowshed (tonight’s venue) a full 17 minutes before our scheduled soundcheck, which makes me feel slightly better about the different train debacle and, more importantly, gives me time to try and find my favourite ever piece of graffiti which I know is on the back of one of these toilet doors:

“Fuck off, Margaret”.

The band on before us are pumping out The Beatles and White Stripes covers to a group of drunk students – I almost want to apologise to them for what’s coming next.

(They left, pretty sharpish.)

We’re frantically setting up when Ben says, “It’s going to be one of those nights, isn’t it?”. “What do you mean?”, I ask, as I trip over my pedals, tip my mic stand onto my head and kick over a pint of water.

“Messy”.

We play a surprisingly tight set to a pre-raucous crowd and receive mutually sweaty hugs afterwards from the lady in sunglasses (it’s 11pm) who did her best to be our hype-person. She eventually succeeded in cajoling the crowd to dance when we broke out the Green Light cover, and none of us are sure how to feel about that.

I get excited that someone thought we were good enough to put a whole ten pound note in the tip jar, until Lindsey (Ben’s girlfriend) informs us that it was, in fact, her. And that said tenner came from Ben’s pocket.

Total haul minus that? £12.66.

We head over the road to see if we can redistribute our wealth via some late night comedy, and instead end up being weirdly hypnotised by a man spending 10 minutes trying to throw slices of Warburton’s at a toaster. Ben is devastated when he gets a chance to step up and misses by the finest of margins.


Friday

COFFEE. Little Fitzroy on Easter Road, you have my heart. Tobias is still in bed, recovering from genuine extreme dehydration from lugging all that kit around. Remember to drink water, kids!

Four ibuprofen, one Berocca and several litres of the good stuff later, we head out to catch a lunchtime show and spend at least an hour debating the best busking pitch, next to a guy enthusiastically flyering for ‘Scooby Doo for adults’. We go get our gear and end up somewhere else entirely.

Busking is… less successful than we’d hoped. An untested rig plus hastily re-written lyrics (so many swears in my songs) mean that the confused side-eye stares outnumber the coins by at least 3:1. But Ben gets a compliment on his bass, so he’s happy.

We jump in a taxi and head to the official campsite for our second official show. We’re all a bit apprehensive about trekking to a field next to the airport in the rain… but are made to feel wanted and welcome as soon as we step through the door/flap.

It turns out that a wood-smoke filled triple tepee is an excellent venue for a punk-rock show. We play a blinder and are all pretty grateful to Tobias for bringing his makeshift kit all this way (no shells at the venue, unsurprisingly). A big finish on Lucky MF and I absolutely stack it, but everyone seems to think I made my way to the floor on purpose and I am A-OK with that.

Afterwards I accuse Ben of playing the wrong chords during Green Light. We investigate and realise that, actually, it was me. Sorry bud. To be fair, he could do with a bit of a grounding as tonight is the 3rd (15th) show in a row where he’s attracted a slew of bass (Ben) fans. It’s getting a bit ridiculous, but how do you argue with that hair:


Everything starts to descend into mania around 1am as I overhear Ben inform Tobias that “you’re sharp, you’re not big”. Context evades me. We rush to a well-reviewed late night satirical panel show but go through the wrong door and end up at something called A.C.I.D. (in Wonderland?). A comedian gets up, tells a few one liners which all bomb, so dislocates both his shoulders to get the crowd back on side.

Time to call it a night, probably.


Saturday (how is it only Saturday?)

Coffee and some much needed fruit help to dispel the A.C.I.D. haze. Today we split, as Tobias and I continue on to Dundee – sadly Ben isn’t able to join us for this part of the trip. We haven’t played a full throttle duo show before, so we make some tweaks to the setlist and laugh about how each gig so far has involved a different setup.

We say our goodbyes and head, slowly, for the station. It’s been a pretty intense couple of days so we take the opportunity to recharge with some quality headphone time on the train (Press Club’s new album and a bit of Ani DiFranco, for me).

As I watch the Scottish landscape roll past the window, I realise that in an hours time I have to do it all again. Be bigger than myself. Be happy and friendly when in reality I’m tired and grumpy. Be enthused. Energetic. Effervescent? Most of all, I have to be GOOD. I’m not worried about Tobias – he’s always good.

We arrive at Conroy’s and are made to feel SO welcome by Derrick, Hazel and the rest of the MTAT crew. Tobias is giddy at the sight of a full set of drum shells with actual microphones, and I’m excited to use my Orange micro-terror to power the 4 x 12 Marshall cab on stage. Mostly because it looks ridiculous:


It turns out I’ve brought the wrong power supply and so electrocute myself when my lips touch the mic. Several times, as we troubleshoot through trial and error. Thankfully Michael from Tragical History Tour a) knows more about currents than I do and b) has brought a proper head, so there’s no need for the improvised loo roll bandage we were all looking forward to using.

Doors open and Tobias and I are both shocked and stoked to see people actually walk through them. It’s a show headlined (for want of a better word) by an English band no-one’s heard of, put together at 10 days notice on a summer Saturday and there are people here. Testament to Derrick and the MTAT collective. Incredible.

Of course, no-one is here to see us, they’re here to get happy-sad to the excellent Buffalo Heart, lose themselves in the beauty and power of Nicola Madill’s exquisite gothic folk and to kick off the revolution with THT leading the way. And rightly so – I’d 100% rather see them than us!


Then it’s our turn. We have a quick conflab and decide to give it fucking everything and hope that makes up for the lack of low end (we can’t do anything about the lack of lustrous mane, sadly).

I wake up the next morning with bruises on both knees, half a fingernail missing and no voice. So I think we succeeded.

I can’t say thank you enough to Derrick and Hazel for putting us up, feeding us, driving us to the station and educating us with some Scottish history facts. I hope we make it back soon, full band, if only so I can be reunited with the broccoli pillow.



Last bit:

All that remains now is for us to get our gear and selves back home then get to planning the next one. I can’t quite believe that we played our first 4 shows outside London and not one to an empty room – still not sold on busking though if I’m honest.

Now there’s just the small matter of Frank Turner on Friday. Let’s fucking go.

THANK YOU Derrick, Hazel, Michael, Calum and the rest of the Dundee crew. Ben and Lindsey for letting us ruin their Fringe. Tobias and Emily for getting 25kgs of kit from South London to Dundee and back. Alex and all at EFC. Anyone who bought a t-shirt – only 38 more sales needed to break even.

Check out Katie MF on Bandcamp and Facebook.