Runaround Kids / We Are Losers
A split 12” vinyl featuring Philophobia flagship band Runaround Kids (this is their 5th PHOP release) and label newcomers We Are Losers, who are based in Ireland, this is a nicely balanced EP, showcasing the best elements of both bands.
Those following Runaround Kids ambitious cross medium release schedule for 2012 will not find anything here as immediate and head turningly defiant as their standalone You’d Feel The Same or Undress which appeared on Rhubarb Bomb’s own compilation a few months back. In fact the most striking song here is their cover of We Are Losers’ The Narcassist, with its punkier, simpler structure and dirgy guitar walls all sitting under a group vocal refrain.
If anything, their own songs hark back to their pre-album days of simpler structures, the songs developing more in waves than patterns and with any deeper sense of pathos (see I Tried or Last July from their Linked Arms album) largely absent. Lesser Loved gives a suggestion of this with its mid song sigh of “Cling to me so desperately, coz I’m lost.” It’s neither here nor there as a good or bad thing – they’ve picked the right tracks for singles and the right tracks for the EP - but it suggests the band are focussing on the live element of their show and on producing records that accurately reflect that. With every instrument seemingly ramped to the max, these tracks certainly purvey that exceptional energy, a desperation expressed through more aggressive vocal stylings, like one screaming at the summer sun (which so coated their debut album) in an attempt to stop the season ending.
We Are Losers mix a hazy, lazy afternoon vibe with a similarly buoyant live enthusiasm, so it seems apt their cover of an RKs track is an acoustic version of Can’t Lose Lover (complete with whistling solo).
Their own works are anthemic and supremely poppy without even slightly sucking. It’s a trickier thing to pull off than you might think. Talk is all long-drawn arm in the air choruses, a sincerity evident in the knowing naivity tied to its circling and catchy refrains. We Vampires could easily be the work of a different band were it not for the pop sensibility shining through once more. Calypso rhythms, hand claps and a fair amount of Ooo Ooo’s make this rather a jaunty number and in fairly sharp contrast to the RKs side of the record.
It makes sense that this EP was launched with both bands touring together as, despite the bands being pretty different, all the songs here clearly relate directly to the live experience. Production is unfussy and focuses on the raw essence of the songs. If I’d bought this after seeing the tour, I would be very happy with what I got. Equally, picking up this EP will definitely push you into seeing the bands live.
It’s also great that Philophobia is looking outwards to add talent to its roster. We Are Losers clearly share a lot with a range of PHOP bands, in particularly a hardcore passion hung over deceptively poppy songs. As the fanbases of RKs and WAL are very likely to be two separate entities, at least prior to the tour, both will be incredibly pleased with the songs they know, and will also have found a new favourite band on the flipside.