The Runaway Suns
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The Runaway Suns

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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The Runaway Suns' second full-length, Emerald Door, is a psych-pop album begging for a Yellow Submarine-style cartoon counterpart. Its melodies are catchy, and the often-nonsensical lyrics would easily translate to similarly confounding scenes of wackiness. Premium viewing and any hope of finding meaning would call for the helping hand of a hallucinogenic, of course.

Granted, these Brooklyn '60s enthusiasts could only dream of breaking ground the way The Beatles did, with or without a corresponding film. The path they're on was plowed flat over forty years ago. The Runaway Suns are merely revisiting that trail, with minor tweaks made under the influence of a heady dose of nostalgia.

"Forty Years" opens the album with an emcee who sounds like he's projecting from an undiscovered black hole. He announces that we're traveling into another dimension. He asks that you please enjoy the ride. The exuberant cheering that follows suggests that trip lands passengers before a studio audience on a lost episode of The Ed Sullivan Show, presumably taping in an alternative universe where the collective consciousness of the band exists. It's not hard to imagine the five-piece's mop-top sporting lead singer, Danny Song, gently wiggling his body around like he's made of cooked spaghetti noodles as he sings, "I was born in a crumbling discotheque."

That lyric could rein in the suspension of disbelief quickly for anyone with a basic knowledge of history. It's one of many time un-warping lines on the album, implying The Runaway Suns don't want to simply create a carbon copy of the '60s icons they owe thanks to. They know the bedrock of their sound is blatantly unoriginal. They don't really think they're living in the '60s. Naysayers might accuse The Runaway Suns of teetering on copyright infringement. Supporters could claim at this point, everything's derivative. To the band's credit, Emerald Door does boast minor nuances beyond the traditional psych realm. A soulful bass line begins "Three Temptations of Me," but a psych-flavored, keys-heavy melody is close behind. Song's breathy vocals over minimalistic riffs guide "An Invisible Thing" into the sonic equivalent of the stereotypical onscreen portrayal of a colorful, double-vision acid trip. "T.S.B.S." peppers shimmying surf-rock with '50s soul, but only slightly.

The most discernable stray from genre revivalist rigidity is heard on "Pussyfoot." Shakers start the tune, and the guitar is a twangy brand of trippy. Song admits he's led a sinful life, then wonders if the pearly gates will be welded shut when its keepers hear he's en route. Fortunately for his eternal peace, Song has a soulfully sung back-up plan: "Follow me higher than I've ever been/ And we can try to slip on in." Here, Song comes off more like a beer-swigging Baptist who begs forgiveness after the fact than a laid-back, dashiki wearing hipster. Makes sense, considering the bulk of the band members are Georgia ex-pats. Every southerner, whether intentionally or by osmosis, inherits some form of southern "charm." Clearly, New York hasn't yet dissolved all of Song's.

However, outweighing any forays into other genres is that familiar fuzzy, wavering feel intended to heighten or replicate drug-induced sensations. True to psych form, much of the album's lyrics are driven by a fondness for illegal substances. "Mr. Kaleidoscope," for instance, is crafted as an obvious drug allusion.

That doesn't mean you have to be on drugs to dig The Runaway Suns. Instead, you should avoid the ice cream scoop out of your brain potential and forego the mind-altering drugs altogether. It's not the free-loving '60s anymore, and brown acid is the least of hallucinogenic wares' problems. Just live vicariously through Emerald Door. - Stomp And Stammer


Discography

Wild Berry Street LP (self-released 2008)
Emerald Door LP (self-released 2009)

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Bio

The Runaway Suns are DIY. They have no label, manager, booking agent, publicist, distribution, etc. Yet have managed to put out 2 full-length LP's on vinyl and tour nonstop all throughout the eastcoast/midwest. Located in Brooklyn, NY for the last 3 years. They're currently recording their 3rd LP due out this spring.