The only real complaint about the self-titled EP Jack Runaway from Jack Runaway is that it isn’t long enough. The songs are extremely well written, with great vocals, guitars and drums, and some amazing production and mixing. The EP captures some really powerful emotional moments and is a great listening experience. Vocally there are traces of Bon Iver and Jeff Buckley over some soaring guitar work that has some elements of Explosions In The Sky. The arrangements are clever and nod to influences without being derivative. The running order is also well thought out, rising and falling through the journey.
The EP opens with “Moonlight (Reprise)” (bold choice to OPEN with a reprise!), which starts out minimally with some soaring vocals and strumming guitar before building into a full band arrangement. The build is very organic and the climax of the song feels earned. There are some hints of Modest Mouse if Jeff Buckley was fronting the band. There’s a mantra-like anthemic section before the song neatly bookends.
“My Show” is an up-tempo song with a melancholic melody over echo-y guitars, subtle tambourines and driving drums. It’s a very smart arrangement too, halfway through after an amazing vocal line the song drops down and rises back up. The band is very clever never to fall into the power ballad pitfalls of Coldplay but instead work with dynamics and repetition to create amazing sonic energy.
“Ouroboros” opens with a waltz-like acoustic guitar pattern and features some incredibly interesting percussion throughout. There are some great harmonies throughout with some heart wrenching melodies and lyrics. The song has a gorgeous close by stripping away the drums and electric guitars to feature a lone vocal and some simple strumming.
“At The End Of An Ocean” is the longest track, clocking in at just over seven minutes. After some volume swells the song starts with more simple strumming over some warm amp hiss. There’s some sneaky tremolo guitar that sneaks in along with more clever percussion (cymbal swells and an ostinado rim pattern) before a melodic guitar solo and a long atmospheric build.
“Loam” closes the EP with another waltz pattern over piano and electric guitar. There’s a quiet reserve but a confident sense when the lyrics “It shouldn’t be this hard” start to repeat. The melody is arching, as the rest of the song swims around.
With songs written, performed and recorded like these, Jack Runaway has lots of promise and will certainly have many fans clamoring for a full album (or least several more EPs). The singer has one of the most controlled but powerful voices in rock today, the arrangements are incredible and the songs are truly a sonic journey.
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