Balkin (whose parents banned rock music from his stereo until eighth grade) has a simple take: “Glam was always about getting on stage and becoming something else.”
The quintet — who’ve done time with many of Boston’s more creative pop acts (the Shelley Winters Project, American Girls Club, and Christians and Lions among them) — strutted into Pete Weiss’s Verdant Studio in Vermont last summer with a nitpicky plan for the album (they had already recorded it once on their own for practice) and a few uninterrupted nights to run free with Verdant’s hodge-podge stockpile of keyboards and guitar pedals. The result supersedes its own glitter. Yeah, it’s a Britpop record: there’s dancing-in-your-bedroom beats, that propulsive sort of industrial-fan-in-the-face energy, and huge instrumental outros cascading to the finish. But the cold synths and strangled guitars make it seem the songs would be at home playing in a rusty flying car from Blade Runner. It’s the little things — the guitar cables fraying to shit in “TV,” the morbid electronic drone mobs in “Girls of the Internet” and “Someday,” the errant trumpet melodies all over — that combine for the biggest differences. This is more than a genre exercise.
The Runners save the best surprise for the end with “Supernova,” which just sounds laden with Brit-’90s throwback potential. What we get instead is a mopy love story with a sweet tinge of ’70s country soul. The hushed Rhodes keyboard shuffles around like something in a made-for-TV Muscle Shoals recording. It’s a long way from London.
“I was a latecomer to the whole ’90s Pulp and Blur and Libertines and stuff,” says Berndt, almost apologetically. Fans should be thankful — instead of a tribute act, we have a group throwing the whole thing into a neurotic disarray, not from an elitist high but from a deep-down scavenger low. Unassuming as he might seem, Berndt makes a great desktop commando. “I just got into the idea of having the balls to say what you want to say.”
LOGAN 5 AND THE RUNNERS + THE LUXURY + THE DAILY PRAVDA + MR. NI$E | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Boston | January 17 at 9 pm | $8 | 617.566.9014 or www.greatscottboston.com
: Music Features
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