UGLY RUNNER – Romanticizer

Cleopatra 2020

Rising from Asheville, a little punk combo set their lyrical agenda against the world’s injustices.


“We’re only sympathetic when it’s something we can see”: here’s a line that summarizes this American trio’s stance – laid out on a debut mini-album whose psychedelic cover and idealistic title seem to contradict the record’s rough roar, while actually playing into its raw nerve. Nihilsm has nothing to do with the little ensemble’s intelligent punk, but pseudo-aloof, albeit energetic, acceptance of the way things happen do feed the band’s vim.

If you’re inclined to not groove to the defiant “When The Reaper Comes” – especially after the piece’s chorus resolves in a quasi-orcehstral respite – or ignore the under-two-minutes ear-candy “She Was Your Girl,” you must be deaf to any humorous sentiment. Sure, “This Time Of Year” can rain on any parade, yet there’s a lot of sympathy in its funereral flow, and the hysterical “Too Much TV” is simply irresistible.

For all the squeal of singer Stephen Britt’s guitar and steady beat of Russell Walker’s drums on the booming numbers such as “You Keep Me Up” which channel ’60s sort of adorable aggro, the resulting noise is rather nuanced, with Brett J Kent’s bass anchoring this tasty assault and serving up a contrast during solos, once the chiming subsides. Conversely, it ramps up the dynamics on the jangly “How Lovely You Are” where infectious riffs fail to conceal the song’s soft underbelly.

This juxtaposition may be the trio’s trump card. Play it wisely, lads, and you’ll blow less ugly competitors out of the water.


February 28, 2020

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