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Love at the Core

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Apr
Love at the Core
Sounds like … the familiar power pop and punk-derived rock of Jimmy Eat World, Hawk Nelson, Fall Out Boy, Sanctus Real, Weezer, and Stellar KartAt a glance … Run Kid Run's sophomore effort is much like the band's debut: very catchy with plenty of spiritual substance, though not inventive enough in sound or lyric to stand out among other pop-punk actsTrack Listing Rescue Me Captives Come Home Fall into This Light One in a Million Love at the Core Sure Shot My Sweet Escape The Emergency Set the Dial Freedom

After their well-received debut released almost exactly two years ago, Run Kid Run returns with Love at the Core. Aided again by producer James Paul Wisner (Dashboard Confessional, Paramore), this follow-up has everything going for it that made the first album enjoyable—catchy songs with first-rate production quality. The radio single "Captives Come Home" grabs the ear with a descending melody in its lofty chorus, while "The Emergency" accurately reflects the same sort of driving rock Jimmy Eat World helped establish ten years ago. Amidst all the dense guitar-driven tracks, it's also nice to hear the band vary its sound with the extremely catchy piano-pop shuffle of "My Sweet Escape."

Unlike some other bands on the Tooth & Nail roster, Run Kid Run clearly communicates their Christian beliefs throughout. The aforementioned "My Sweet Escape" is a love song to the Lord with a worshipful bridge, and the anthemic title track offers a prayer for spiritual rejuvenation and restoration: "I need the pulse of you, God/To fill these veins and touch my heart so I can start living again." Run Kid Run invites us to listen for the "soft and subtle voice" of God rather than the material distractions of the world ("Sure Shot"), and portrays us as the radio that shares God's message of love with those who need to hear it ("Set the Dial"). About the only time the band isn't expressing its spiritual side is on "One in a Million," a purely romantic pop/rock song that still remains romantically pure.

All of which is good, but Run Kid Run still never manages to fully stand out among its peers. True, their songs are not as disposable or inane as the average Christian rock band influenced by punk, and I'd say Run Kid Run is at least on equal footing with Hawk Nelson. That said, Love at the Core is a short 35-minute album that handles the genre rather predictably. As with similar bands, Run Kid Run only significantly changes things up for the album's big ballad finale, though "Freedom" is still certainly an awesomely soaring and worshipful closer. They're still not as creative or distinctive as, say, Relient K, but as far as catchy pop-punk with spiritual substance goes, Run Kid Run delivers it quite well.

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