By Run From Robots
This mini-album from Run From Robots blends modern, melodic punk with the sneering edge of good old fashioned punk rock, to mixed effect.
When Run From Robots get the balance right, they have the bite that sets them apart from the hordes of aspiring pop-punkers out there. However, Run From Robots struggle to find that balance. 'Red Rocket' and 'C Is The Silent Killer' sound a little like both genres, only without the shiny hooks or the aggression. 'Red Rocket' is either watered-down punk rock, or a melodic punk song that's missing a big, sing-along chorus. This is one of those frustrating songs that has all the right pieces: on the melodic punk side there's galloping riffs, and on the punk side there's shouty, snotty vocals. But, 'Red Rocket' is ultimately lacking that final spark, and ends up coming across as less than the sum of its parts.
The problem with 'C Is The Silent Killer' is more clear-cut. This song lays down strong musical foundations of thumping drumbeats and spring-heeled riffs, and then tops it off with watery vocals. Frontman Tom has nailed the tuneless, half-spoken, half-snarl of the punk rock vocalist, but he lacks the power to make his presence felt above the rest of the band. Musically, 'C Is The Silent Killer' is bounding, jigging melodic punk with a sly, spiteful edge, but some killer vocals would have driven this song home and made it impossible to ignore. As it is, it's too easy to overlook.
'Overcoat' and 'Put 3 In Get 4 Out' are where Run From Robots begin to move in the right direction. 'Overcoat' builds on 'C Is The Silent Killer's musical sure-footedness, successfully flirting with the dual personalities of punk. The drum-work is particularly inspired, switching between a cheerful bounce and drum rolls that verge on blastbeat, while the guitars merge aggression and melody by churning out abrasive riffs, decked out in sparkling chords. An extra hook or two, or a more forceful vocal still wouldn't go amiss, though.
Finally, 'Put 3 In Get 4 Out' delivers that strong vocal performance we've been waiting for, in the form of some actual singing courtesy of Tom - which is, unfortunately, mired down in the guitars - and gang backing vocals which, fortunately, are not. Not quite a big chorus or a feast of snarling, spitting punk nastiness, but it's the sound of a band beginning to overcome some teething problems, which is almost as good.
'C U @ The Clinic' and 'Get Down Get Down' are mini-album highlights. The former, captures Run From Robots at their strongest, in terms of music. 'C U @ The Clinic' is an abrasive rush of skin-flaying riffs, underpinned by an unusual, moaning guitar. This song does pay brief lip service to the more melodic side of Run From Robots' sound but, for the most part, it's a no-nonsense plunge of aggression, combined with a sudden burst of confidence that makes this one of the highlights of 'Sorry You Don't Love Us.'
Run From Robots exit on an all-time high, finally getting both the vocals and the music spot-on for mini-album closer 'Get Down Get Down.' This is a pogo-friendly stomp where Run From Robots take some of the pressure off Tom, by supporting his slightly strained bellow with a secondary vocal line, beefing up Run From Robots' vocal presence. This is, musically, almost as strong as 'C U @ The Clinic' but, crucially, it has the vocals to match.
Despite the shakiness of 'Red Rocket' and 'C Is The Silent Killer,' the rest of 'Sorry You Don't Love Us' increasingly finds a comfortable balance between melodic punk and punk-rock. 'C U @ The Clinic' has the potential to be a spiky punk rock track with a gooey melodic centre, while 'Get Down Get Down' has the sort of big, attention-grabbing chorus this mini-album is crying out for. Even when Run From Robots fail to make a strong impression, the musical foundations are there, they just need the supportive extra vocals of 'Get Down Get Down' or the shouty gang vocals of 'Put 3 In Get 4 Out.' Two standout tracks on a six-track release; hopefully, the next Run From Robots release will crank up that ratio of memorable songs, to forgettable songs.