Local Love: Another Run
Leon casino, Photo: Trish Badger
A couple of years ago, I found myself a little disenfranchised with music, and the Houston music scene. I don’t really remember what caused it, but I was burnt out because of something someone in a band had said, and I felt that malaise we all get sometimes. I was eating at Tacos A Go Go when this guy with poofy hair handed me a flyer for his band. I then proceeded to watch him talk to someone else about how much he loved Houston, and how people should go early and hear the openers. That guy, was Bob Lane from Houston’s Another Run, and by himself, the renewed my faith in the Houston music world. Since that time, I’ve watched these guys build a real following, successfully release new material, and even open for some heavy hitting touring acts. This week they’ll drop the follow up to their 2010 album with the “Be Honest” EP, and build your faith as a listener of Houston music. In just six songs, the band grows dramatically as an act while keeping to their roots and finding new ways to create and craft their songs.
From the hard hitting drum opening on the EP’s first song, “I’m Gone,” you should immediately hear a leaner Another Run than you may be used to. The band incorporates a more melodic approach than they have in the past. Multiple guitar tracks accompany Adrian’s vocals that seem to sit atop the instruments like a guiding light. The way in which both Zak and Brian’s guitars glide in and out of the song with ease while still forming a melody alongside Bob’s bass and Estevan’s drums make you quickly realize that the band has come a long way since 2010’s “I’ll Be There.” There’s a ton of effects utilized while the band slows the pace only to pick it up when the chorus hits. The drums hit like you want for any rock song while there’s this melodic guitar track in the background that sticks to you like any great hook should. They really feel like they’re vibing off one another as the song feels like it’s coming from the band reacting to each other’s playing. The band has definitely figured out how to add multiple hooks while utilizing Adrian’s vocals to a point where they’re just as integral to the song as every other instrument. The same could be said about the second song, “Hunt Me Down.” Though I wasn’t a big fan of the distorted vocals, the band incorporates an almost Fishbone kind of element to the track. I say that about the vocals only because Adrian has an interesting range that I’ve always felt like shouldn’t get buried under any form of effect. There’s a soulful funkiness that comes from everywhere from the vocals to the pace set rhymically. It almost comes off like a band who’s just jamming out a tune together where the ante is continually upped from each member. When the song’s chorus comes in, there’s a run down the fretboard that is only multiplied by the head bopping drums in the background.
The psychedelic opening to “Be Honest,” the third track brings forth a spacey affection with a distorted bass track and a quickly timed drum beat. There’s a spacey element that makes the song have that “hitmaker” feel. The dual guitars really seem to stretch their legs on the song, where the rhythm guitar is peppered with this harmonic that’s usually reserved for bands of a different genre. However it works well with the talents of all involved before things slow down while Grammer soulfully drops notes that seem to come from out of left field. When the band picks up the pace afterwards, things quickly turn into a spaced out jam that grabs ahold of your ears with multiple drum fills and a tripped out solo. There’s a yin and yang to the song where you can really notice what a band that’s been together a long time can bring to a song. There’s definitely a chemistry that doesn’t always exist between newer acts. The band uses the slower elements to commence the fourth song, “Alive & Well.” The track is more than a ballad, but more of Another Run going somewhere they’ve never really attempted before. None of that is bad, it’s just different where the vocals create a building tension that gets topped off with the drums and the bass forming a peak that gets quicker and quicker with each note. This is closed off with a mix of quick guitar underneath a song with a slower stride that results in a concept that takes the band to a new place.
The older feeling that the band brought forth from previous works comes through loud and clear on the harder edged fifth track, “Just Pretend.” That almost Rage Against The Machine meets Mars Volta sentiment that was found on the band’s previous album is all over this song. There’s definitely an added ingredient when the band draws on dual vocals while keeping things harder and quicker than some of the previous tracks. There’s definitely an energy from the past that’s met with this new use of crafted tone and finer songwriting. Possibly the finer tracks in that it uses some of the more intricate guitar work coupled with a speed that never slows down. The biggest difference within the entire six songs on the EP comes on the final track, “Knock Me Out.” Because I can’t really find the words, Grammer beautifully channels the vocal styles of Adam Levine and Justin Timberlake on the falsetto and dual vocals that accompany chimes, a drum machine like beat, and acoustic guitar. It really takes you to a new place that you didn’t realize resided inside the band, and the song could easily be a radio hit with its almost Usher type of approach and delivery. It’s seriously a place that most bands fear to tread on a release because it’s so far from what they might be known for. However, here it’s really amazing, and just showcases the talents of the band as a whole.
When the six songs come to their end, you’re left with a band that’s transitioning to that rightful next level of songwriting. The way they craft these songs proves that they’re moving on to a place that successful bands like Blue October and Mutemath reached when given the time to grow, You feel like at any given point, Another Run could reach heights larger than Houston, and take their rightful place with bands who utilize the same higher level of songwriting and craftsmanship. You can hear all of these songs live as well as pick up your own copy of “Be Honest,” when Another Run hosts their EP release party Saturday May 9th at Walter’s. The band will have Austin’s Buhu, NYC’s Ava Luna, and Houston’s Whit on the bill with them. The all ages show has doors at 7:30 with tickets between $5.00 and $10.00.