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Music Review: Straylight Run – The Needles The Space

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Stream this album in full via Rhapsody.

The brother and sister (Michelle and John Nolan) driven band Straylight Run have just released their third album, The Needles The Space on Universal Republic.

Honestly, I was ready to give this one a mediocre review a few days ago, but after three more full rotations on my morning commute the record's subtle flavors unfolded before me.

There's no denying the delicious pop appeal of the opening track "The Words We Say." On this stand-out track, acoustic guitar, accordion, and glockenspiel create a magnetic foundation for the off-kilter phrasing, melodic hooks and fine tuned harmony. The second track, "The Miracle That Never Came" throws trumpet into the mix and features the seraphic voice of Michelle, who has serious Jenny Lewis moments at times.

The rest of the album ran together for me on my first few listens, mainly due to the emo-heavy tracks where John takes on the lead vocal duties. But now (on my 7th listen), I'm a believer. Unrefined 20-somethings will scream about the evolution of Straylight Run, but this band is headed in the right direction.

75% of the The Needles The Space appeals to my pop desires and although some of the tracks are not my style, even these are well-crafted and well-delivered. The piano and acoustic guitar-centered songs really shine, and they work better with a lower-key vocal delivery. John will do well to completely break from the screaming emo leaning he groomed with Taking Back Sunday, and he has the perfect role model in his sister.

In case you haven't guessed, it's maturity I'm talking about here.

I look forward to truly great things from Straylight Run, but in the meantime I'll take The Needles The Space just as it is, and be grateful for it. It's the sound of an emo punk growing into an intelligent adult.

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Tracklisting:

1. The Words We Say
2. The Miracle That Never Came

3. Soon We'll Be Living In The Future
4. How Do I Fix My Head
5. Who Will Save Us Now
6. Cover Your Eyes
7. We'll Never Leave Again
8. Take It To Manhattan
9. Still Alone
10. This Is The End
11. Buttoned Down
12. Track #12
13. The First Of The Century 

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