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Runes

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    7
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The debut full-length outing from the English indie rock trio, Runes is a slow-building amalgam of inexorable Motorik beats, staccato guitar licks, and brooding synths that should please fans of post-punk revivalists like Editors, the Horrors, and Future Islands. Hypnotic opener "Legacy Project" unfolds slowly -- the first vocals don't arrive until nearly four minutes in -- patiently setting the table for vocalist/drummer Ben Leverock's even-tempered delivery. Both "Slowly Sinking" and "A Smaller Part" dip into moody Alt-J territory, albeit with a distinct '80s pop vibe, as does the atmospheric -- and far more dynamic -- closer "Waxen Palm". The claws come out a bit on the burly single "Real Blood," due in large part to Stuart Gardham's very Joey Santiago-esque guitar work -- Doolittle-era Pixies seems to be a sort of sonic touchstone throughout -- but for the most part, the workmanlike Runes leans harder on the narcotic end of the post-punk spectrum. There's some solid world-building going on here, but not a ton of innovation.

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