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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Welcome to the Afterall

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jun
Welcome to the Afterall
Sounds like … energetic rock 'n' roll in the vein of Weezer, Foo Fighters, The Elms, Switchfoot, Starflyer 59, Modest Mouse, and The Strokes.At a glance … while there's definitely more style than substance overall, Runway 36 has great potential with songs are artful, entertaining, and redemptive.Track Listing Walls of Glass
Six Days
All for Show
On the Backswing
I Long for the War
The Road Less Traveled
Welcome to the Afterall
Woah Oh (Yeah)

As any indie artist can attest, the journey is always a colorful one. Such is the case for Rochester, Minn., rock act Runway 36, a band that's been around for a while, albeit with different names and various line-ups. But despite the constantly shifting state of affairs, the band says the current lineup was the right one all along. Now with everyone in place, the group that won the band tournament at Minneapolis' Club 3 Degrees back in 2005 has forged ahead and recently recorded its third CD, Welcome to the Afterall.

Now signed to St. Paul's FS Productions, Runway 36 has opened for the likes of The Afters and Sanctus Real. Given their musical quality, this comes as no surprise as the band definitely keeps pace with a raw, unpolished approach that's catchy enough for the long haul and probably sounds pretty amazing in a live setting. Tracks like the instantly relatable "Backswing" and the moody title track best demonstrate their potential, while closer "Woah Oh (Yeah)" is almost Beatle-esque in nature before giving way to a power chorus that's pure fun.

But what often separates the good bands from the great, particularly in the Christian music arena where lyrical depth is especially important, is the songwriting craft. While it's evident that Runway 36 has spent a lot of time honing its sound, it doesn't seem like as much old-fashioned sweat was invested in the lyrics.

Songs like "Six Days" and "All For Show" suffer from the far-too-familiar lyrical sentiments (and frankly, bad rhymes) like "You say you got it all, but you're on the downfall/You hit the pavement hard back on selfish boulevard," while "On the Backswing" has so many overused similes like "you will walk in circles like a desert wanderer" and "your life is like a pendulum" that it doesn't end up saying much at all.

Fortunately tracks like "Road Less Traveled" and "Undone" fare a little better in the long haul, but still aren't fantastic from a songwriting perspective. But with the help of some older, wiser co-writers, that could remedied in no time. Lackluster lyrics aside, there's still something promising about this band, and it'll be exciting to hear what it comes up with on future recordings.

For more information, check out www.r36rock.com.

If you are an independent artist who would like to be considered for review on our site, please send your CD(s) and any related press materials to editor of independent artist coverage:

Christa Banister
Attn: Independent Christian Artists
300 E. 4th St. Suite 406
St. Paul, MN 55101

Due to the number of projects we receive, we are unable to cover or correspond with every artist that contributes. But we do give all submissions a fair listen for coverage consideration.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.