The Runaway Catholics Charmed Life

Handshaking vocalists aren't especially rare, and the Runaway Catholics' new record, Charmed Life, testifies to the effectiveness of that interplay. Amid acoustic pop rock falling a tad on the sugary side, the chemistry between Brodie Dakin and Shawna Sormin is the most interesting part of these indie folksters out of Toronto, ON. It's a shame the rest of the album can't follow that example. Drawing heavy comparisons to Belle & Sebastian, the Runaway Catholics are just as frustratingly pleasant as that suggests. Dakin gets throaty on the bouncy "Suburban Blue," but comes to it like a cracking prepubescent teenager. The energy of "Charmed Life," the track, fails to resuscitate Charmed Life, the album. "Prologue" is an interesting diversion of co-opted Celtic strings, but without compelling songwriting before or after. The Runaway Catholics have some nice enough component pieces on display with Charmed Life, but without a single risky manoeuvre in its 35 minutes, it's hard to muster the focus to see them. (Independent)