The Running Gags is what happens when music is not placed into just one genre.
The band embraces “no rules” punk, hard rock, pop-punk, reggae and ska. However, the music of this quintuplet can be easily related to as energetic alternative rock, strongly influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The lyrics appeal to the underpaid, overworked and unappreciated youth. This album isn’t easily identifiable at first listen. The tracks are so infectious that by the fifth listen, you’ll be mimicking each verse like a 5-year-old listening to Barney. If you don’t fancy a song, skip ahead and you’ll more than likely find something you love.
Their charm lies in cliche verses fueled by raw, positive energy. These lyrics deliver the sweets without the sugar-coated faux-reality ever present in the airwaves of today’s modern pop.
The album progresses in an ’80s guitar style with the title track signaling that a “tea party in a glass box isn’t exactly what [they have] in mind.” They begin with the typical love-gone-bad theme song prevalent in any alternative flick, but without the funky kick.
The prog-rock tunes “Wait Now, Don’t Wait” and “Let Me See” trickle in like the end of the weekend blues.
The lyrics in “Let Me See” are the most optimistically creative on the album: “Let me see dreams remembered if ever I only change sides/A call to my evil nature, nurture a furious curiosity/Oh, please, let me see.”
With the killer reggae tune “Just a Tree,” the album switches to another side of the genre Rubik’s Cube. A generously chill alto sax solo picks up in the middle and ends in a drone.
“Old Dog” and “Mr. Invincible” treat the angst of the mid-life crisis victim with power-pop-punk riffs and aggressive jazz influence.
The creative lyrical explosion of all-too-relatable life remains prevalent throughout the songs.
“Though your head is hot, we’re living in a freezer/Drunk or not, you’re never gonna be a geezer, so why even try,” they sing in “Mr. Invincible,” a dose of reality for a lost man stuck in his rebellious days of youth.
“Ms. Direction” slides in with a quiet jazz pick-up and hush vocals that “won’t fool [you] just because you need affection.”
Every album needs a sweet guitar solo and “Just a Rush” fulfills that need.
Overall, the album is a corn maze that will intrigue enough music lovers to attend their CD release party on June 1 at Bull Feeney’s in Portland, which will mark their 45th gig there. The album hits stores tomorrow, so head to your local record shop and support local music.