I haven’t been one to hitch a ride on this surge of emo-core bands that seem to dominate the covers of Alternative Press and the MTV airwaves, and I’ll have to admit that I took Straylight Run for another cloned concoction. After realizing that two members, John Nolan (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Shaun Cooper (bass) came from Taking Back Sunday, it wasn’t much of a surprise. “The Perfect Ending” has that ‘curled up in a hole’ pining for lost love thematic tone, and the next, “The Tension and The Terror” lead singer Nolan admits, “…Just trying to keep myself from kissing you.”
But the saga continues and some light shines on this new rendition, showing Straylight has the chance to break from the pack. In comes a secluded piano solo breezes over marching drum like rhythms on subsequent tracks, or when female vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Michelle Nolan (sister, wife, another White Stripes conspiracy?) takes over the mic and rocks the nightclub on “Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs,” bubbling over with an effervescent pop cocktail shaken with raspberry vodka.
As the stand out track on the album, Straylight would do themselves and their fans a favor ran with this formula for future efforts, unless they want to be constantly compared to their Sunday past. Nolan’s vocals are just too reminiscent of that whining, woe-is-me singer out there in the world of male emo bands.