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Straylight Run

The Needles the Space

When you leave a band like Taking Back Sunday you better be leaving to go and do something good. For the most part, John Nolan formerly of Taking Back Sunday now of Straylight Run, didn’t just leave for something good (and for band disputes). He left for something that’s really different. Straylight Run ended its stint with Victory Records and are now with Universal/Republic. Their first release for Universal, “The Needles the Space”, came out in June of 2007. Straylight Run has an interesting sound, that much is for sure. There are tons of instruments incorporated and two lead singers -one male and one female. All of that is mixed into something that can best be described as folk-sounding alt-country that actually has more jazz elements to it than country. Basically it’s impossible to describe. It’s a little weird, but it’s good. Compared to the band’s last work (an EP), Straylight Run has definitely benefited from the experience and from the production money. This album is the band’s best sounding work yet, the production is better, John Nolan’s voice seems to have a bit more, and the playing seems to have gotten better too. That being said there’s one thing wrong with Needles, it’s the songs. Half of the songs are great, the other half are okay/bordering bad. Not to attack just one member of the band but most of the Needles’ problems are with the songs that Michelle Nolan sings. She does a great job with keys, and her backing vocals are superb, but I just don’t like her as a lead. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you hear this album. The good thing is that her brother does some outstanding work here. The good songs to check out “The Words We Say” and “Who Will Save Us Now.” Other than those two tracks, there’s nothing really spectacular. There are some good songs, but nothing over the top. This is creative and different and that alone holds merit, but unfortunately it’s not really as good as it should be. Just because it’s different doesn’t make it good. Straylight Run has the capability to be both good and different. Here they just pull it off half the time.


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