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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Straylight Run
Straylight Run
Victory Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


March 7, 2005
Taking Back Sunday who?

John Nolan and Shaun Cooper are back with their new band, Straylight Run. After the TBS split, a few Straylight Run demos conjured up excessive buzz for the band, and at long last the album has arrived.

The self-titled debut - which also features Nolan's sister, Michelle, who shares the vocalist/pianist/guitarist duties, plus Will Noon of Breaking Pangaea on drums - is a softer effort than brother Nolan's TBS fans may be expecting.

The current single "Existentialism on Prom Night" is a good indicator of the entire record: forceful yet catchy. As simple as the track may seem on the surface, its mantra of "Sing like you think no one's listening" will get you squawking along out of tune in no time. Although this song may overcome its lyrical cliché, John Nolan's vivid, intense lyrical imagery is harder to swallow for the duration and becomes semi-saccharine without a counterbalance of anger and fluff.

The weakest songs on the album, though, are the ones sung by Michelle Nolan. Many songs would be severely lacking without her intense backing vocals, but she fails to command and commandeer as a frontwoman. The poppy "Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs," is the worst of her two contributions. Her chorus of "Do you think that this could work out/Do you think that you could come round/ Do you think that this could work out again/I don't," is too energetic and saccharine to be bitter, triumphant, or, heaven forbid, emo.

As a whole, though, the album makes for a rewarding listen. A cloud may be hanging over the head of most of this record, but the band always hints at the optimism just beyond. As many songs on the album deal with the ability to get over the past, it looks like Nolan already has.

Reviewed by Natalie B. David
A fresh graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, in her spare time she can be found clumsily manipulating words and phrases for LAS and Beautiful/Decay magazine, hungering for sushi, naming inanimate objects or pondering the existence of stiletto heels. If you see her, you should buy her a cup of coffee because, chances are, she probably needs it.

See other reviews by Natalie B. David

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