single review ~ runaway [go] ~ 'ashes'

We all love runaway [GO]. For years the darlings of Belfast's indie-pop scene, the band built around those hair raising harmonies of Fiona O'Kane and Dave Jackson are looking increasingly likely to join Mojo Fury and 'And So I Watch You...' as our next indie success story.

Any worries that front-woman Fiona may pursue the poison chalice of the solo career seem to have been laid to rest (for now at least) as runaway return from their recent UK Coffee House-tour refreshed and with a debut album ready to, well, go. Taking on the baron wasteland of mainstream pop may seem like a noble quest on paper, but in order to actually achieve such a feat takes a back catalog of consistent brilliance; Thankfully anyone present at the bands last Limelight gig will be able to vouch that they have more than enough fire power in their setlists to blitz most festival regulars, usually doing the rounds with tired material (we're looking at you Courteeners).

The first single to be released from their upcoming debut record, 'Ashes' is the sound of Runaway [GO] coming out fighting. All the key characteristics with which they built their fan base upon remain; Fiona's glistening vocals, the slow build to another crashing crescendo of a chorus ~ but there's a new found wisdom to be enjoyed here. If early singles like 'Alligator' simmered with a youthful verve, 'Ashes' is altogether more grown up. It speaks of hope, while stressing quiet caution, opening a more mature chapter to the bands long history. The key here remains rooted in the groups dynamic vocalists, playing off each other as always, yet remaining fresh.

Though we would perhaps like to hear more of James Lappin's melodic guitar work (too subtle?), the songs piano led opening more than makes up for it. Lyrically, the song works around the empowering 'And I'm running, I'm running away, from the ashes of all my old flames', a beautiful line and one it's not hard to imagine being sung back to them by bigger and bigger crowds.

This is a very exciting time for Northern Ireland and a truly fantastic time for our music. Don't be surprised to see 'Alive' make waves across the nation. Though they may soon outgrow us, Belfast should always be grateful to Runaway [GO].

Taylor Johnson

& Hear an acoustic performance from the band 
on their latest tour here⁞► 

For fans of: CHVRCHES, Arcade Fire

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