Red Sparowes mem­ber and LA song­writer finds some pain re­lief.

Prog - - The Musical Box -

run­dle’s last solo al­bum, 2016’s Marked For Death, para­dox­i­cally gave the US song­writer a new lease of life. A way­point after a bleak pe­riod strug­gling with al­co­hol, anx­i­ety and sub­stance abuse, it was an ex­or­cism of sorts, find­ing cathar­sis in its red raw writ­ing. Fol­low-up On Dark Horses dares to find hope in the ti­tle’s metaphor, strip­ping out a few lay­ers of the Lynchian gothic claus­tro­pho­bia and step­ping into a more open, re­ver­ber­at­ing space – Louisville, Ken­tucky, to be pre­cise. The move from LA, sparked by a re­la­tion­ship with Evan Pat­ter­son of la­bel­mates Jaye Jayles, means we find Run­dle chan­nelling a lit­tle more coun­try than on her last out­ing, not least on the re­verb-laden bal­lad You Don’t Have To Cry. The col­lec­tion still doesn’t sing with pos­i­tiv­ity, but com­pared to the boozy iso­la­tion of Run­dle’s last out­ing, the warmth of these more com­mu­nal ses­sions is pal­pa­ble. Pat­ter­son’s bari­tone vo­cal on Light Song, for in­stance, forms a fine and suit­ably sub­tle coun­ter­foil to Run­dle’s own throaty mur­mur as the record’s earthy cen­tre­piece hyp­not­i­cally chants to a frenzy. A light in dark­ness. mP

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