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Review: AWOLNATION – Here Come The Runts

AWOLNATION are back with their third LP Here Come The Runts, here’s what we make of their latest offering.

AWOLNATION new album Here Come The Runts, out now.
AWOLNATION new album Here Come The Runts, out

The California rockers are back with 14 new tracks, kickstarting a new year of music in explosive fashion. With their 2015 effort Megalithic Symphony going platinum, there was always going to be pressure to follow it up.

Opening with the title track, ‘Here Come The Runts’ starts in euphoric style, opening in a fashion that’s more like an announcement; “we’re back… here come the runts.” Filled with tension, it’s pure rock ‘n’ roll, rolling guitars, fast tempo and trumpets adding to the urgency of the track. It’s a hell of an opening that gets the adrenaline pumping.

Lead single ‘Passion’, lures you in to a false sense of security with it’s more laid back start compared to ‘Here Come The Runts’. Once you settle into it’s rhythm the track takes a turn and sucks you in with hard riffs and a cry to “blow my mind”. It bounces back and forth with its tempo but the thing of beauty is the song it leads into; ‘Sound Witness System’.

Frontman and writer Aaron Bruno said when making this record he “really wanted to make a rock n’ roll/pop album.

And I say ‘pop’ how I grew up listening to it, in the sense of Dire Straits or Born In The U.S.A or The Cars or Tom Petty.

That statement really shines through on the slick ‘Sound Witness System’. Mixing what makes AWOLNATION a powerhouse with pop. The slick track is like Mos Def and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs collaborated. A stand out moment on Here Come The Runts.

The band recorded the album in Bruno’s studio surrounded by the mountains of LA. On tracks such as ‘Handyman’ or ‘Seven Sticks of Dynamite’, you can hear those influences seep in.

There’s a familiar sound of 80s rock in AWOLNATION’s sound and it’s absolutely thrilling. Saving the best till last, the closing track ‘Stop That Train’ is a work of art. The tension is high from the start and only builds higher and higher throughout. Throughout, the tempo only builds and the further into the track you go, the more aggressive it becomes. ‘Stop That Train’ is like a theatrical performance, broken into three acts, each more thrilling than the previous. It’s the perfect end to what you can describe as a good, old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll record.

AWOLNATION are back and demand your attention with Here Come The Runts, which is out now.

Songs worth putting on repeat: ‘Here Come The Runts’, ‘Sound Witness System’ and ‘Stop That Train’.

Verdict: 8/10

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