Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roomrunner - Super Vague (Fan Death, 2012)

'Roomrunner' engenders great nostalgia for me: much of my early youth was spent in my bedroom, running, jumping, and air-drumming to the riff-ridden anthems of Nirvana and mclusky that poured from my boombox speakers. I haven't a clue what the name means to the Baltimore four-piece, but by my very cursory analysis, I would have considered myself a roomrunner. Like myself, the band reflects upon grunge-informed post-hardcore, and their two EPs sound as if they would have been in regular rotation during those CD-reliant days.

Super Vague is about half the length of last year's self-titled debut, and within the context of the songs themselves, are more instantaneous. "Super Vague" is a devoted grunge throwback, swathed in amp noise and causing neck spasms that somehow cause the head to nod in rhythm with it-- somebody please give me a diagnosis. Flaunting a catchier vocal melody is "Undo" despite how unintelligible Denny Bowen's lyrics are. Elastic chords hastily jump up the neck as miry bass notes counteract the treble just before the hook is submersed in fuzz-- fists are raised, fuses are blown, and noise complaints are made; it's the soundtrack to an AmRep office party.

Roomrunner delve into harsher forays come Super Vague's latter half. A crushing groove and microtonal leads pierce through "No Wait", making way for the EP's oddest guitar antics such as the Polvo-esque bending at the 2:20 mark and the dueling pseudo-melodies that fall apart at the seams upon ending. "Petrified" is the black sheep, the shortest and sporting a lower fidelity having been recorded in 2006 (perhaps with Bowen's previous band, Double Dagger?). Nonetheless, the trashy drum timbre and brittle guitars have just as much momentum as the preceding tracks, and coupled with Bowen's muffled scream strike a chord akin to Pink & Brown. What Roomrunner do doesn't call for innovation, but it's more than a pining for the 90s; this is a beacon of light for an air-drumming guitar enthusiast whose only leeway is the boombox in the confines of his bedroom.

[Roomrunner Tumblr]
[Stream/Buy Super Vague from Fan Death]

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