Sunday, 19 July 2015

Album Review: Running Red Lights - There's A Bluebird In My Heart

Running Red Lights

Running Red Lights, There's A Bluebird In My Heart

Info: Running Red Lights are a Toronto indie folk-rock four-piece comprised of singer Scarlett, drummer Kevin Howley, guitarist Dave Puzak, and bassist Jeff Carter with the latter two also weighing in on vocals. The band have been together for 10 years now and are coming to Ireland in August for a leg of their tour entitled Adrift In Westland Row, an homage to Oscar Wilde's birthplace at No.21. They will play Sweeney's Bar in Dublin on the 26th of August followed by Crolwey's in Kenmare and Courtney's Pub, Killarney over the next two nights before finishing up in Sin É in Cork. Although it's not their first time playing in Ireland with a show held in Whelans in September of last year also.

Their tour is entirely self-funded and will feature their debut album, the culmination of 8 years work, There's A Bluebird In My Heart, an album I think you'll agree bears the hallmarks of a long but fruitful journey when judged on the lyrical and musical quality of it's 11 tracks. In the bands own words; 'The leading single 'Mulberry Love' has drawn comparisons as far-ranging as 'Americana' Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Buckley and Chrissie Hynde, while the proposed second single 'Under the Wire' parallels the roots rock sounds of The Band and Alabama Shakes.'

Running Red Lights, 'Mulberry Love'

I really liked a lot of aspects of this album, released in January, 2014, there's a lot of folk / rock groups out there the last few years, and for the most part sometimes it feels like a template has been followed deliberately at the expense of feeling and musicians setting themselves free from pre-conceptions. As soon as you've reached the halfway point of opening song and single 'Mulberry Love' you feel an energy and passion that is genuine, on top of a superb track which scoops you up and brings you along with it's locomotive rhythm. It's evidenced as well in the above video, that in a way, the band are not only controlling the music but it itself has taken over the musicians, it's something you love to see, a performance where the song means just as much to those putting it on display as you, the listener.

Running Red Lights Theres a Bluebird In My Heart

Second track 'In Parentheses' adjusts the joy of the previous song slightly by lowering it's unbridled abandon while maintaining that same rhythmic flow, it's damn catchy too and the vocal effects and echoed guitar effects pull you inside a fantastical bubble of escape from the real world. 'Dear Liza''s opening bars are a throwback to slick 70's Americana rock before the song departs forward into more pop rock territories, but relapses once again to point A, like Finley Quaye meets The Allman Brothers with something new in between.

Another track I particularly enjoyed due to it's stripped bare nature was 'Parlour Cafe', the vocals are pained but soothing at the same time, a little bit Joni Mitchell even, and again provides an example of the versatility of styles yet close-knit genres that Red Running Lights have dipped their toes into. 'By Your Side' is a sunnier version of an unwritten Elliott Smith or Sufjan Stevens song that climaxes in an expansive rock finish more in line with Arcade Fire or The Drums. The final track on the album 'A Damn Good Way To Go' sees the band go into full indie-rock mode, small references to Bon Iver and Band of Horses vocally, nice subtle bass-lines and inching percussion all combine for another energetic burst to see out the album. 

There's no duds on There's A Bluebird In My Heart, and it really does traverse so many styles and genres (within it's remit of course) that it will keep you occupied and rewarded for a long time. The music is accomplished and the lyrics have enough substance that will only add to the enjoyment of the music as time goes on, all in all a highly accomplished folk-rock album bobbing above the water in a sea of repetitiveness. 

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Running Red Lights Irish Tour

1 comment:

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