The Runs – Wet Sounds / 2005 Urban Cheese / 14 Tracks / http://www.theruns.com / http://www.urbancheese.com / Reviewed 28 September 2005
A little bit of Screeching Weasel, some Queers, Ramones and Misfits, and one has an idea what The Runs sound like on their “Wet Sounds”. The tracks run into each other, making the fourteen cut “Wet Sounds” blast through at a Flash-like speed (it ends before the twenty-seventh minute). The production of the disc is well above another achieved by the early Screeching Weasel albums, and tracks like “Rancho Slutadero” have a catchiness to them that has not been heard since “Dingbat” was first cut.
With the majority of tracks on “Wet Sounds” ending before the second minute, the chances are that the listeners (even if they don’t like the music) will be able to dig a track the entire way through; The Runs work with a repetitious style that works perfectly in this context. Perhaps the catchiest track on the disc has to be the more angsty, more harmonic “Empty Words”; the dark multipart vocals really make this disc a challenge to not absolutely love. The track still falls into the same general style of Runs tracks but this minor tweak and extended song length (it is nearly the longest track on the disc) really ensures that this disc maintains a solid sound throughout. Finishing up with the straight-forward “Hang On To Your Chorro”, The Runs simplify their sound even farther by riding the fuzz of over-distorted guitars, only breaking up the sound to place in a simple but fun bass line. While the disc is as good as can be expected from a band from their debut, The Runs can conceivably tighten their sound further by allowing their producer to really delineate the instrumental tracks from each other.
During a track like “Idle Masses”, all that needs to be done is allow the bass to assume a louder sound during its solo and tweak the high-end of the track to allow the high hats to properly pop. Still, in terms of factors that they can control, The Runs are on track for a long and impressive career; the tracks are crafted with the perfect blend of catchiness and maturity. Each of the tracks on “Wet Sounds” could be played on alternative radio; each song has a chorus that is eminently singable, and the music itself calls on so many bands for its influence that it is honestly hard to dislike the acts. “Wet Sounds” even goes one step farther than the album parodied by the title; I actually like it!
Top Tracks: Aardvark, Rancho Slutadero