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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Metro North

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

January 3, 2006
Metro North is the kind of record year-end lists were designed for, and I hate myself for having not discovered it earlier. Run_Return have it all: charisma, technical proficiency, an aversion of pigeonholes, a clear knack for applying that finishing gloss to their mixes, and that extra dimension that mere reviewer-babble eternally wastes itself upon. At this point, with most conclusive analysis on 2005 releases finished, Metro North may be the best record you never heard.

What separates Run_Return from the world's million-and-one IDM hopefuls is their aptitude for playing IDM. Metro North is not the aural offspring of some spotty teenager whose parents have just bought them Reason 3.0, but rather a focused digital impression derived from a series of jams between three young Americans; and it shows. Though it may orbit synthesizers, hence utilizing a modest degree of programming (which modern technology universally permits), it is fleshed out with vibes, live drums and guitars, and is conveyed with that raw musical integrity that cannot be sequenced or superficially bought into.

To strip Run_Return down is to reveal an indistinct blurring of genres. Their intergalactic swagger gazes into the future, showcasing the same jazzy swing that thrust Tortoise into the instrumental foreframe. Beyond their post-rock core shimmers an ode to the likes of Telefon Tel-Aviv and Pulseprogramming in the form of the microscopic blip and skitter patterns that line each mix.

Upon embarking on an ambitious 16 tracks, Run_Return seemingly don't shy away from a challenge, and with "Aerospace Lanes" they don't hang about either. The opening cut is a multi-pronged future-jazz assault, laced with vibes, subtle electronic beats, and anchored by the fattest bass synth this side of Fabric. "OKC dani" carries less weight, largely forming itself around a single melancholic violin track, whereas "Weights and Measures" sits at the lower end of the Run_Return frequency spectrum, tenderly switching between synth collisions and soporific noise clouds.

Metro North presents an example of those rare recordings that are so crisp and dense that they seem almost physically tangible. It is far-reaching, multi-dimensional, and manages to maintain and equilibrium between busy climatic peaks and moments of light hypnosis. Run_Return have articulated their designs for the future, and if Metro North is anything to go by, we can rest assured that a future in which Run_Return feature will transpire for the greater good.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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