Broken Field Runner is putting out a new record! “Lay My Head Down” will be released on Jetsam-Flotsam records one single and music video at a time. The first release, “Put an Ocean Between my Self-Pity and Me,” came out on January 29, 2019.
Broken Field Runner is known for its slow, sometimes noisy indie style with singer-songwriter tendencies in the vein of Pedro the Lion, Mansions, and Weatherbox. In the past, they have released a full length record, “Clear a Heaven so This Earth Can Breathe” as well as a split record with Gifthorse on Secret Audio Club Records.
The project began as a solo endeavor in the fall of 2012, but expanded after the audience questioned the lack of other band members at shows. Once the full lineup was solidified, Broken Field Runner did some east coast runs and even a short tour in Ontario.
Since the release of “Heavy Hanging Fruit” in 2017, Broken Field Runner’s lineup has included members of Drug Church, Young Culture, Aficionado, and Nxnes.
Broken Field Runner’s latest album is a doozie! It starts off with the already released track, “Put an Ocean Between my Self-Pity and Me.” The track begins with a slow heartbeat of drums combined with ambient, breathy vocals that highlight its title. Gradually, the tension builds behind the drawn-out vocals as more instruments are added and the song flows through its climax and ending, which features a series of voice recordings.
“Put an Ocean Between my Self-Pity and Me” is quite relaxing. Its fluid, melodious tones remind me of something From Indian Lakes would put out, and I’d definitely add it to my Me Time playlist to combine with some awesome Lush products!
“Palm Trees Wave,” the next track on the album, is the song I didn’t even know I needed. After the slow start with “Put an Ocean Between my Self-Pity and Me,” I expected the next track to follow in its footsteps. Boy, was I wrong! As much as I enjoyed the first track, the second is something special. “Palm Trees Wave” truly ignites the album, setting it up to burn brightly for the rest of its run. I love the guitar riffs, catchy melodies, lyrics, vocals…. I love everything about “Palm Trees Wave!” This song is the star of the album, and I can already say that I consider it a serious contender for my Top 10 of 2019 when it rolls around!
The third track, “Man Plans (Now You Have Something Too)” mellows us back down, a decision that I’m not so sure about. Why not take advantage of the energy created by the last track for just a little longer? Order aside, “Man Plans” incorporates some cool new themes for the album, including horns! The brass adds a lot to the mix as a great contrast to the more sonorous portions of the song. The differences in fullness give “Man Plans” a lot of depth.
Unfortunately, I’m not as thrilled by “Soft Pink Hands.” I dislike the way it just jumps into things, jarring me after “Man Plans.” The vocals aren’t my favorite either, as I find them a bit too shaky and almost whiny. This track doesn’t match the style of the others at all. Basically, “Soft Pink Hands” is not the song for me.
The next song, “Koreatown,” is more my speed. The vocals are solidified and hold a quiet confidence that I really respect. The song itself also seems to know where it’s going and what its purpose is. I like the twangy guitar riffs and backing instrumentals quite a bit.
At first glance, I like the title of “Millennial Pink” for this track. It begins with quiet, crooning vocals about family histories and futures, soon rising into commentary on what the color itself represents with “I am the millennial, I am the millennial.” I enjoy how stripped-down this track is compared to the others of the album.
“Heat” begins with some of the bare bones-atmosphere that “Millennial Pink” featured, but again, the vocals are not exactly what I am looking for. Although not as jarring as in “Soft Pink Hands,” the style of vocals in “Heat” distracts me from really being able to enjoy the lyrics. Granted, they are much better matched by the instrumentals.
“Twenty Somethings,” gives me serious pop punk vibes. It is a nice change from the style of the previous songs, but not too much of a stretch to where the track doesn’t fit in. The mix isn’t as balanced as I would have liked, but I do enjoy all of its components, especially the catchy instrumental lines and tone and style of the vocals.
The next song, “God Laughs (When They Expose a Human Body)” is a spoken word, lo-fi style piece that I was not expecting. I don’t know much about this type of music, but as a poet myself, I appreciate the reading and language. It is dramatic and powerful in a way that forced me to listen to it over and over again. “God Laughs” is an interesting way to start bringing the album to a close.
“Test Everything, Hold on to What’s Good” is the final track on Lay My Head Down. It mirrors “Put an Ocean Between my Self-Pity and Me” in a way that provides satisfying closure to the album with a slow sense of building and flowing, drawn-out vocals. The emotion is really there in the entirety of the track despite its extreme eight minute running time. Every second is saturated as “Test Everything” flows through a number of styles present in the rest of the album in an epic ending to Lay My Head Down.
Fans of From Indian Lakes, Coldplay and Young the Giant will absolutely adore this release.
Connect with the band and stay updated on the releases of their latest tracks off of “Lay My Head Down” with the links below!