The American electro-rock band, AWOLNATION are back with their second album Run. Their first studio album, Megalithic Symphony, rose to fame in 2011 with their hit song Sail going six times platinum, so their new album has some big shoes to fill. Maybe this is why they felt the need to go completely outside of their familiar realm with Run, keeping them interesting and weird. Rather than copying their previous album, frontman Aaron Bruno has switched the “gypsy girls” for dark, and somewhat uneasy lyrics in an album that has exceeded expectations.
Despite their new mellow tones, Run is an art piece of soft soulful lyrics that quickly flicks to energetic bubbling beats. It’s purposeful, every heart pounding note is placed with precision to create an album with no two tracks alike. They have encompassed the nightmarish, the odd and the evocative all whilst still being electro-rock, which is a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed. With an opening song featuring the repeated lyric “I am a human being, capable of doing terrible things,” it would be easy be put off from the start, but it would be a shame to stop listening there. AWOLNATION takes us on a ride through songs of love, with Fat Face, and gives us upbeat tones in Live Love Live Love, however there is still the ever looming notes of melancholy throughout, making it seem as if AWOLNATION are showing their true colours in their new album. With lyrics such as “I walk to the rhythm of the rhythm of your heart” and “Last night I fell apart/ Broke from my swollen heart,” no one can deny that the Bruno has written thoughtful songs that marry perfectly with the music in such as Fat Face and Woman Woman.
Bruno’s vocals are phenomenal and Run is an interesting and ambitious step for the band, so there’s not much to complain about. However, Run does have some downfalls; the strangest is that it doesn’t sound like an album. With every song being so different you get the sense that this could have been written by several electro-rock bands that collaborated on one CD. AWOLNATION also seem to have a problem on tracks such as Jailbreak and I am, with their instrumentals falling short of Bruno’s vocals and making the songs feel more generic than the rest of the album.
Nevertheless AWOLNATION have out done themselves and the wait was well worth it. They have taken a risk with Run that has definitely paid off. They have grown as a band in the four years since Megalithic Symphony and undoubtedly fans will be more than happy with the results. I’m sure we’ll hear plenty from AWOLNATION on the radio and let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another four years to see what surprises they have in store for us next.