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The Runaway Five

The high-energy pop-rock of this young local quartet's debut EP is spiked with the jittery melodicism of new wave, thanks in large part to the sci-fi keyboards dancing around the edges of the arrangements.

The enthusiasm of youth brings an infectious drive and aggression to what might otherwise be considered undistinguished power pop—but the band has polished its sound just enough to be competitive. Of some concern is the five-song CD's opening track: "Ronald Raygun" might seem a little dated. I'm not sure why vocalist-guitarist Zach sings, "Ronald Raygun, how could you let this all go down?" Is he maybe assigning the responsibility for our current state of affairs to a dead president, or is there something metaphorical going on here?

The rambunctious "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy" benefits from shouted backing vocals, Sarah's vertigo-inducing keyboard effects and some funky action by bassist Ian. "Marahute" has a bouncy, slightly reggae feel, framed by the wheedling of Sarah's horn-like keyboard.

Dunno know if this is an oversight, or an attempt at humility, but nowhere in the CD package is there evidence of the individual names of the performers—they are listed simply as Zach, Sarah, Ian and Bobby on the band's MySpace page—and songwriting seems to have been credited to the group. Hey, R5: Take credit where it's deserved.

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