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Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA


2015-07-16 15:27

What We Thought:

AWOLNATION (yes, spelt in all capitals) hails from America and has come bearing EDM and rock’s improbable love child. Following up from Megalithic Symphony, the new album, Run, tries just a bit too hard and in places falls short of what could have been. All of the songs are written by Aaron Bruno and that’s pretty neat if you ask me.

The album is artistically indulgent and for the most part sits on a blurred line between rock and electro. Imagine a leather clad long-haired rocker but with lumo wristbands and an encyclopedic knowledge of ecstasy.

Head bobbing to measured beats seem to be the main theme going on here, but Bruno does his best to give us songs which, whilst structurally and rhythmically similar, have their own defined character, and the better songs of the album achieve this.

However, there are parts of this album, uncomfortably large parts, which get lost in the crowd either for being too similar to other songs, which sometimes directly follow or just being overshadowed by superior tracks. The album is oversaturated and would have benefited from having some tracks cut as Run features fourteen ‘different’ songs.

By the end when songs like "Holly Roller" and "Windows" come up I treat it as more of an ordeal than an experience. I have heard these songs before, and worst of all, I heard them five minutes ago on this very album. This hurts Run as it so quickly loses any momentum that it gains with better songs such as "Dreamers".

The album broods too much over itself and it could get away with this, but it compels me to take it too seriously. Something that Bruno does which I like is that even in broodier songs he’s not afraid to add just a smidgen of a gentle little melody in the background which helps build character for his songs.

Overall this album delivers clever and balanced blends of pop, rock and EDM travelling from a low melancholic tone to thrusting numbers which ensure that the album has at least something extra to offer listeners. That being said, too many tracks sound like copies, as if Bruno is plagiarising himself. Fewer tracks and an injection of a more visceral sound could have radically improved the overall quality.

Best track:

"Hollow Moon (Bad wolf)" sounds like if Queen had done more drugs during their later electronic experimentations in the late 80s and 90s. This song finally picks up the pace of the album plucking as from the monotony of the first two songs and is the most accurate electro rock blend on the album.

Worst track:

"I am" – You will hear this song again far too many times throughout the album.

Sounds like:

An artist whose ideas about electro rock are good but not plentiful.

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