Review: We Are Losers/ Runaround Kids

Yorkshire lads Runaround Kids join forces with Kildare’s finest We Are Losers for an short Irish tour, starting in Dublin, which takes place in advance of the launch of the pairs new split 12” single, due next week. The Dublin date, truthfully, suffers from that Euro 2012 affliction: there are precious few inside Twisted Pepper, and We Are Losers headline slot has to be delayed until Spain and Portugal have finished taking penalties, as quite literally every punter is stood outside staring at a screen. Fortunately, it doesn’t spoil the show.

Runaround Kids feature sporadic dual vocals, delivered against a forceful, frantic guitar track. They’re crisp and husky, a little fuzzy with their guitars and extremely quick on their chords. They’re also extremely young, and that shows in the nervous banter between tracks (not least a particularly awkward attempt to poke fun at We Are Losers frontman Gavin), but stick a guitar in their hands and away they go.

In many ways Runaround Kids are a typical pop-punk band, though a forceful one, and one that settles for sporadic and well-planned guitar thrashing rather than an all-out assault. The metal-tinged roar occasionally contributed by backing vocalist Jack Winn adds an interesting new dimension, and their tunes have a catchy quality that’s still laden with anger and energy, and promising with it. Not quite fully-formed just yet, then, but certainly one to watch.

We Are Losers, in their varied prior guises as members of Super Extra Bonus Party, Grand Pocket Orchestra and more have been around the musical block several times and it shows. Gavin Elsted has evolved into a natural front man, from the daft quips (at one point he pauses to tell the crowd that the humidity is like “being inside a fish finger”) to the leaping rock-out moments and the in-band interaction. We Are Losers have always had a slightly muffled quality to their riffs – an intentional nod to garage rock when done well – but what’s shown serious development over the last few months is their ability to swat that away in favour of more melodic approaches, particularly in their choruses. The contrast is an emphasizer, and hugely lifts their overall sound.

The highs remain the tracks from that enticing single released last year. ‘Cheerleaders’ and ‘Sunset Song’ are both sunshine anthems, helped along by some superbly measured backing-track contributions from bassist Bronwyn Murphy-White. The cover art for that particular single, released in associated with ‘Dance to the Radio’, Super Extra Bonus Party’s former label, was knocked together by Jack Colleran, who’s now touring America under the moniker Mmoths. While nine months ago We Are Losers could be pegged as a band loaded with the potential to follow in their friend’s footsteps, the marked improvements since then make it more of a question of when. We Are Losers ‘most likely’ tag might stay in place for a while yet, but on tonight’s evidence they’re all set to deliver.

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