Years ago, I was talking to a friend who was writing his band’s third album. It wasn’t going well at first. It wasn’t that he was out of ideas, but he was finding it hard to express these ideas in a new way. The debut is a culmination of years of songwriting and honing those songs live. The follow up is proving it wasn’t a fluke and you still have things to say. On the third album you can start to experiment a bit more, but not at the sake of your fanbase.
And this is what a third album is. Showing you’ve evolved but kept to your roots.
After listening to ‘For A Brief Moment We Could Smell The Flowers’ – the third album from Run Logan Run – none of these problems appear to be on display. This is the Bristol duo’s strongest, and most enjoyable, album to date. It has a playful bounce to it, but also is world weary and reflective. As usual Andrew Neil Hayes wails on his saxophone and fidgets with his effects and Matt Brown’s drums and percussion is the driving force of each song.
From the opening of ‘Screaming With The Light On’ Run Logan Run have you. Those mournful horns. That scatter shot percussion exploding from behind. Its ridiculously hard to concentrate from whatever menial task you are trying to complete when it all kicks in. And kick in it does. It sounds like the past, the present and the future all rolled into a five-minute song.
Considering how much I adore ‘Screaming With The Light On’ the track I keep going back to repeatedly is ‘Cold Showers.’ This is having a slightly reflective mood. It takes its time to get to the crux. Instead of throwing every at us in the first third it gracefully builds to its point with a beautifully lilting saxophone runs. It’s the laconic melody that easily get lodged in your head. It rattles around there for days before relinquishing its control over your psyche. The final third is just glorious. The main melody gets slightly skewed, this gives it a more menacing vibe before Hayes and Brown get really abstract for the elongated outro. It could be the strongest song Hates and Brown have released. And that’s saying something.
What ‘For A Brief Moment We Could Smell The Flowers’ do really well is create and environment of excitement. Unlike a lot of albums that come out all guns blaring, then fade away when you realise the majority of the ideas for the album were in that one incendiary opening track, Run Logan Run backs it up. Again, and again.
There isn’t a great deal that separates ‘Screaming With The Light On’, ‘A Brief Moment’ or ‘Give Me Back My Slippers’ other than tempo, but that same sense of exhilaration runs through them all. This is down to Hayes’ enthusiastic saxophone playing. He manages to draw out moments of deep melancholy, whilst giving things a buoyant bounce. Under this Brown creates intricate drum patterns that both match Hayes’ playing whilst preventing it from being a gloom out.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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