Easily backing up and building on their early promise Welsh pop punk band My Favourite Runner Up release their thrilling Thoughts, Feelings, Actions EP on August 6th. Well defined and impressively crafted the five track release is a stirring and vibrant release of fine songwriting and thrilling sounds loaded with even further promise.
Formed in 2006 the Aberystwyth quartet did not take long in grabbing attention with their Lostprophets, Mayday Parade Jimmy Eat World, and New Found Glory inspired sounds, the latter two bands still a strong reference when describing the sounds upon the new release. Recent years have seen the band sharing stages with a diverse wealth of artists including Cerys Matthews, The Blitz Kids, Kids Can’t Fly, I Spy Strangers, and Under The Influence. Their debut EP of 2010 recorded with Romesh Dodangoda, who returns to produced the new release, drew strong and highly positive response with the equally successful single taken from it receiving widespread national radio play. The band as evidenced by Thoughts, Feelings, Actions has reached a plateau of excellence and accomplished skill musically and in their songwriting but the release also indicates the band are still working towards their full potential to inspire thrilling anticipation for their future and UK pop punk.
Let It Ride opens up the release with a stylish and confident presence. Instantly contagious and openly melodic the song takes no time in stroking the ear with busy guitar play and powerful rhythms. Vocally Christian Evans is outstanding; his voice one of the most agreeable to emerge in recent times and is well backed by the supporting tones of bassist Lee Walker and guitarist Andrew Towell. The song has an energy and eagerness which is impossible to refuse whilst musically the track is concise and persuasive in every area.
The strong start is soon elevated by best song on the EP in Our Time Now. The pulsating at times almost groaning bass of Walker leads the infection which is rife within the song, its heart and breath heavier and more aggressive entities. The band still brings smart melodies though to underpin the combative riffs with the guitars of Towell and Evans combining and exploring both aspects. The song punches with jabbing accuracy especially from the riffs and excellent beats of Thomas Carr to bring a distinct growl missing from the first and following songs, great though they are. This extra Billy Talent like roughing of the edges is outstanding and personally one hopes they merge in more of this in the future.
Next Start Living Today is an absorbing feast of melodic invention and hooks brought with an expressive and impressive touch. The song chugs along with an extra gear in its locker but still lights up the energies and emotions fully. After the quality of Our Time Now it at first feels a little subdued and less potent but it soon emerges as a strong and pleasing track to put one in their place.
The closing pair of Drawing Board and Separate Myself From Me without reaching the heights before still leaves one drenched in pleasure and deeply satisfied from ear to heart. Both have a bounce and irrepressible melodic wink to increase the contagion across the release with every member of the band allowed to express their skill and passion through the excellent production of Dodangoda.
Thoughts, Feelings, Actions is an excellent example of how good pop punk can be. It is inventive, diverse, and passionate with strong and imaginative songwriting at its core and shows My Favourite Runner Up as a band who can take the genre to new dimensions if they continue in this impressive and thoroughly enjoyable way.
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