There’s pop punk and then there’s pop punk. Chicago’s The Run Around falls squarely into the second camp as their ethos screams punk, though their sound brings in a certain amount of pop sensibility. This band knows exactly where their hearts lay. In the opening lines of “Pop Stars,” the lead single off of Reckless Ones, they make a simple assertion: “We’re not pop stars / we’re from the basement / live off a middle-American paycheck / we go hardcore when it’s called for / nights spent on the floor.” Taking a look at their influences, it becomes even more clear that The Run Around have a spot-on estimation of themselves. The band cites artists such as Rise Against, Rancid, and Pennywise, all of which are strong comparisons.
The challenge comes more with deciding on a definitive genre. During their 10 years as a band, lead singer Jason Fein says, “I think the biggest change is ‘What is pop punk/punk rock?’ I know we used to fit in that bill pretty well. Now when I hear the bands others are calling pop punk then I don’t know what to call us.” In the end this isn’t so much of an issue as long as the music can stand on its own, which it certainly does. Besides, “No one ever changed the world by fitting nicely into the mold set out for them.”
Even if you did settle on one descriptor for The Run Around they would quickly break it. In the span of just one song the sound can shift seamlessly from raw, energetic punk to a screeching metal solo, while also throwing in a breakdown and well-written melodies. The production on the album kicks things up an extra notch, courtesy of Seth Henderson. Explosive drums, gritty guitars, and varied vocal styles come together to create an infectious sound that can bring on anything from rhythmic nod of approval to an intense head bang.
At their root The Run Around has always been a party punk band churning out anthems, but in the three years since their last release a lot has changed. “The death of [lead guitarist] Jeremy Kitt in the summer of ‘14 hit us like a bag of bricks and changed our perspective on life and on music.” Additionally, the music scene had changed dramatically in that time so audience response was a huge question mark. The band came to the conclusion that the best course of action was to go full steam ahead and continue writing music, using it to take a deeper look at the way their lives had changed. The resulting album is an honest, concise, and exhilarating 10 tracks. “We grew listening to music that changed the world. From Lennon to The Ramones to Cobain. We approach every song with the same two simple codes: 1. We don’t pull punches or muzzle our feelings for anyone. 2. If it ain’t broke, break it.”
Scott Fugger is a writer for Funeral Sounds, 36vultures, and Noise Creators. A recent music industry graduate of the University of New Haven, Scott is always looking for new opportunities and new music. Dad jokes and bad jokes abound. Conversation is always welcome via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @scoober1013.