Fresh Stream

Running — Wake Up Applauding


The irony was that I came upon Running earlier this week actually on my way for a jog, reluctantly preparing to torture myself for an hour in an attempt to justify how much curry I consume on a nightly basis.  The relief was that I pressed play, and found myself one album later in some alien corner of Cambridge uncontrollably sweating and still, somehow, ready for round two.  It was like there was this violent, murderous mob, and I was simultaneously both the one being chased and the one leading the insurrection.  Reality: the mob was just Running, the conglomeration of three Chicago dudes absolutely itching to besiege us with a the kind of noisy punk that makes me want to go out and disappoint my parents.

Wake Up Applauding marks their second release on California-based Castle Face Records, and their latest effort since 2013’s Vaguely Ethnic, a similarly nine-track helping of hazardous wit and fury.  Not-so-similarly, this new offering displays clear and exciting development for Running; heightened aggression, a more masterful understanding of what it takes to induce disorientation.  Familiarly diabolical beats remain consistently driven throughout (see: opening track “Reclaimed Would” and closing track “Art Seen”) and leave very little, if any, room for rest, leaving me to wonder whether or not the band’s name, Running, is actually playfully hinting at the amount of stamina required to take the album in full.  The intensity never drops, and even the few slower moments seethe with rage and panic, exemplified in the two tastefully nestled interludes featuring grimy synths straight out of a rapidly approaching urban dystopia.

What’s evidently clear is that these guys have an exceptional capacity for presenting a whole package: an all-inclusive manic episode ready for consumption in full.  Even the album art, a cross-section of a the human epidermis as a piece of cake, lends itself to the straight up vampiric quality of the sound; unequivocally, we could all be eaten alive.  The entirety of the experience is full of lovely surprises, including (but not limited to) what I concluded to be some kind of villainesque laughter, and air horns.  That’s right, title track Wake Up Applauding ends with a fanfare of airhorns to signal a brief but explosive salute to Chicago; from up here in Boston, we can only continue on with the hope that they’ll stumble into a basement near us someday soon.  Until then, although I’ve resolved to never subject myself to the horror of jogging again, I’m definitely not going to stop Running.  In fact, it seems like absolutely nobody is.

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