Published Mar 17, 2015Despite only offering up one full-length record in five years of being a recording and touring act, AWOLNATION have continued to appear in the upper reaches of music charts, advertisements and festival main stages without a terribly deep back catalogue. Chalk it up to the explosion of ubiquitous electro-stomper "Sail," which went triple platinum in 2013, cementing itself as the band's most successful song. Looking to escape the daunting label of being a one-hit wonder, Aaron Bruno and company opted to dial back the over-produced electronic rock of past records for their sophomore effort Run in favour of something new.
In doing so, the record exhibits Bruno's difficulty in choosing a definitive style to write in. It isn't long after the predictable opening title track that the man changes face with the dainty piano of "Fat Face" (save for a screaming chorus in the end). While not lyrically engaging, the energy from the upbeat, aggro synth-pop of "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)" is soon drained away by the melancholic, plodding piano of "Jailbreak"; the trend of extreme contrast only continues when the power of electro-rocker "KOOKSEVERYWHERE" is stomped flat by the repetitive "I Am" and acoustic ballad "Headrest For My Soul."
Jumping between moods as frequently as this record does makes it nothing short of exhausting, and though a Red Bull Records contract may allude to this being the auditory equivalent of the company's drink, Run is far from it. Bruno gets full marks for evading the trap of writing another "Sail," but his mad dash in a myriad of different musical directions isn't well-suited to an hour-long record, on which AWOLNATION's ambitious ideas trip over one another. Blame it on his A.D.D., baby. (Red Bull)