RetirementParty delivers a one-two punch of heavy noise and sincere lyrics in their sophomore album. Runaway Dog carries with it the familiar Chicago sound from similar acts such as Ratboys and Beach Bunny, but the thing that differentiates them is the massive sound and intricate narratives that will pound away at all your worries. Avery Springer’s vocals provide a contrast and character to the overall sound, providing a much needed touch of gentleness to tame the roaring guitars and drums. Her lyricism weaves in and out of the measure with a spring in its step, and syllables manage to fit in snugly between bar lines. It gives each song a stream of consciousness flow, with a level of honesty that’s akin to a diary entry.
Heavy distortion greets you in the opening “Runaway Dog”. Springer’s vocals effortlessly cuts through the noise even as James Ringness comes pounding on the drums. The titular track encapsulates the theme of one’s fleeting creativity — never knowing where it goes or if it should ever come back. “Compensation” follows as another ode to a crisis of art. There’s a constant struggle for artists to balance commercial viability versus self expression, but where is the line? The band explores this idea in a catchy pop rock tune with dense lyrics that veers from side to side in a tightrope, illustrating the balancing act and confusing nature of the industry.
“Old Age” gives pause to all the chaos to reflect on loss. Here the instrumentation is more dynamic, with soft sections and emotional riffs called upon to contrast the usual bellowing noise. Springer recounts how losing someone helps us see the value in our lives and relationships. “Better off Now” also shares a more reserved mood. A break-up song that’s reminiscent of 90’s alt-rock with a catchy melody.
“Wild Boyz” ends the album with a twangy campfire vibe and heavy reverb. A coming of age epic about going out on a journey with your gang and putting on bigger shoes. An adventure towards an unknown landscape, where you get to call the shots, finding success and all the pitfalls on the way.
Runaway Dog is engaging and deeply relatable. The band balances noise and thoughtful songwriting with themes that listeners will find close to the heart. Lyrics swing from poetic to conversational, and loud arrangements will make you wonder how this all came from a trio. It’s a shame that it’s gonna be a long time before we can catch Retirement Party at a live event again, although this record should satiate our mosh pit cravings before that time comes.
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