Run, Forever The Devil, and Death, and Me

Pittsburgh, PA's Run, Forever deliver an emotionally-charged punk rock debut that sees the band fusing many styles, coming across as wholly engaging, albeit slightly lacking in focus. But it may be too much. Vocalist Anthony Heubel's warbled croon is too pronounced, too abrasive, giving us heart-wrenching lyrics with socio-political subtexts that bum you right out. The album's content focuses on death, specifically that of former bandmate Corey James Wolfram. The trio juxtapose the sadder elements with charging guitar hooks and catchy melodies that make it an irresistible listen. Fans of punk bands like Desaparecidos and Lawrence Arms will find a similarity in sound, especially in "The Grand Illusion," with a twangy, repeating guitar hook and boot-stomping bass line. "When It Won't Leave" is a nostalgic, folk-sounding acoustic melody that's misplaced amidst the album but fares well on its own. "A Sequence of Sad Events" is a rousing punk rock anthem reminiscent of early Against Me! (circa As the Eternal Cowboy). The band's consistent switch in sound may be too soon for a debut album, taking away from showcasing what they can do. Fortunately, there is enough there for whatever direction to be a catchy one. (Solidarity)