Local Record Review: Runner Runner from Huntington Beach

Local Record Review: Runner Runner from Huntington Beach
Chad Sengstock

Runner Runner
Runner Runner
Capitol/MRV/CE Music

If there's something immediate to be said about the Huntington Beach-based Runner Runner's full-length debut, it's "well-sculpted"--that's not a reference to their perfectly posed promo photos, but they don't hurt. But it's a key to Runner Runner's sound in general, something that's already so of its moment that one can sense how quickly it'll sound retro--the quintet aim for radio/YouTube-friendly instantly catchy pop/rock with electronics filling in the corners, Autotune softening the edges along the way and big gang shouts and beats at plenty of points on top of it all. 

(Jack-of-all-trades producer Dave Darling gets due credit here; he obviously has an ear to bringing out the band's best strengths, from Ryan Ogren's easygoing everyman/daydreamer vocals to the stop-on-a-dime pauses in the arrangements.) 

Every song sounds like it's meant to soundtrack a crazy action/comedy romp ("Unstoppable," "So Obvious") or a big romantic or romantic fallout scene ("Papercuts," "Life After You," "History. Her Story") or something that works both ways ("Hey Alli," "She's My Kinda Girl"). Nearly every lyric's about love and loss, and it all sounds like a lot of stuff that's been famous in recent years. 

It's not original or any big surprise but it's not meant to be--it's the latest version of big anthems to shout along with and/or power ballads to wave lighters to, without irony. Anyone surprised that that formula still works has forgotten what it's like to be young, starry-eyed and looking for a song that summed up a melodramatic feeling just so.

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