Despite forming in 2009, electronic rock group AWOLNATION had been a silent murmur in the EDM-rock crossover world until the massively successful “Sail” was re-released on its debut album Megalithic Symphony (2011). Now AWOLNATION is releasing its second full album, RUN, amid quiet fanfare and undoubtedly high hopes that another song will push the band from one-hit wonder to electro-rock staple.
RUN is the definition of an artistic identity crisis. The album starts strong in its eponymous opener, with electric violins leading into an eerie voice over claiming “I am a human being/ capable of doing terrible things.” The build to the song is slow and steady, but when the bass drops it drops hard into an unexpected electro-metal bridge.
The following song, “Fat Face,” takes the established sound of the opener and erases it. It implements a mellow-dramatic choral background under such banal lyrics as “I walk to the rhythm/ To the rhythm of your heart.”
The musical confusion continues with the ’80s-esque “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”—which, admittedly, is one of the best tracks on the album—to the acoustic serenade “Headrest for My Soul” to “Like People, Like Plastic,” which was oddly reminiscent of a climactic number in a rock opera.
RUN is not a bad album. The songs, however confusingly disjointed, are overall well-produced and pleasantly unique in their sound. AWOLNATION’s biggest failure is in turning what could have been two excellent EPs into one average album. That being said, if you’re looking for a solid electronic rock album, you could do much worse than RUN.