EP Review: Red Light Runner’s ‘What Are You Thinking About?’

by James Fleming

Cliché is a trap. Like the insect to the flytrap’s jaws; it lures you in with promises of fame, fortune, loose women and looser morals.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of young bands fall into this pitfall, hoping that they can get a glimpse up fame’s skirt. But, from the bottom, all you can see is her boot heel.

Red Light Runner are a band spawned from mid 00s pop-punk cliché, as many others are. Those years spawned so many misguided groups: fame hungry, naive, and impatient.

And many of them soldier on. Lost in a mire of sickly melodies and distorted guitars. Safely wrapped in clichés arms. Secure in the knowledge that they sound like Jimmy Eat World.

Red Light Runner have missed the proverbial boat. Just a mere few years ago, they may have been something. Their octave guitar melodies played over chunky powerchords and squeaky-clean vocals sound distinctly 2008.

And if that’s your cup of tea, then Red Light Runner’s EP What Are You Thinking About? may very well be for you. It’s got the choruses, a sensitive side as pure as the virgin snow and there’s not a chance it will offend your parents.

There’s whoa-oh-ohs galore and gang vocals made for pub singalongs. On every track. Not only do Red Light Runner fail to stand out from the crowd, they fail to stand out from themselves.

It’s a sound that has already begun to sound dated and nostalgic, not even a decade after emo’s highpoint passed. Not only are the times a-changin’ they have changed full stop.

The five tracks across What Are You Thinking About? all blend together to form a repetitive dirge. It’s difficult to distinguish one track from the next. From opener First Time, through Make You Pay and on to the record’s closing tune Be Mine Again. These are songs for a generation of grown-up youth to listen to as they get misty-eyed about the 00s.

As an emo record, it ticks all the boxes. As an interesting record, it falls flat. There’s nothing here to really get the adrenaline going, nothing new.

So, as a recorded document of its genre, it’s acceptable, if not life altering. As a definitive statement from a band that has something interesting to say? It won’t set the world afire. It won’t even spark a revival.

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