Straylight Run - The Needles The Space Review

Let\'s take two steps back and pretend that Mr. John Nolan was never a member of another uber-popular rock band. Let\'s just let Straylight Run be Straylight Run without comparisons to bands like Taking Back Sunday or Brand New, because seriously guys, Straylight Run is neither one of those bands. Now that I have that taken care of I\'m going to speak in sheer reverence about The Needles The Space: Straylight\'s brilliant 2007 debut courtesy of Republic Records. As much as I enjoyed the good but uneven 2004 self-titled album, an amazing amount of musical maturity has occurred since then (that of which was only hinted at on the EP Prepare to Be Wrong).

The album starts off with the song "The Words We Say"; a toe tapper sung by John that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the disc. It\'s mellow, which I\'m going to say right now, is what this album is all about. Don\'t expect to find crunching pop/punk electric guitar. Instead prepare to be overwhelmed with an expansive use of instruments not traditionally used on a rock record (trombone, mandolin, and accordion). The use of all these different instruments makes the whole album sound expansive and original.

More so than in their previous works, the lyrical content of this album stands out as well. While some of the album talks about love and politics, a good majority of it is based on John and Michelle\'s struggle with faith. Never are these faith-inspired lyrical themes more apparent than in the John sung "Who Will Save Us Now", where he talks about how religion was forced upon him in his youth, only to find out that his beliefs differed from those that he was raised to believe. The disc seems to flow together far better than their debut album as well, drifting from one song to the next seamlessly. Thus, giving it a well needed cohesive feel.

The album is not without fault though. It is definitely soft and slow, at times almost to slow (especially towards the end of the album). The new sound is fantastic, but I found myself longing for another fast-paced tune. I was also left hungry for more songs sung by John. I love the voice of Michelle, but I find myself slightly more fond of John\'s superlative vocals. These complaints are minute though. The Needles The Space is a beautiful, lush album that is far different than any type of rock album in the mainstream today; and this, my friends, is not a bad thing.

"The Needles The Space" is on sale June 19, 2007 from Universal.

Aug
21
2007
Tyler Barlass • Editor

Tyler is passionate about Music, Sports, Beer, Comic Books, Food, Cocktails and other seemingly unrelated things.

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