The Wrong Voice
It’s often a good idea for up-and-coming bands to release shorter EPs rather than full length LPs. In lieu of a second album, Straylight Run releases a nine song EP, Prepare to Be Wrong, which shows the breadth of their abilities.The first six songs of Prepare are comprised of previously unreleased material. The final three are songs from their self-titled debut. The music is a solid balance of electronic and analogue, as manifested in the Postal Service-like keyboard samples of “I Don’t Want This Anymore” contrasting with the traditional piano of “Slow Decent.” The lyrical content is heartfelt and opinionated though sometimes a tad bit cheesy as in “Give it up or you’re going to die!” from “Hands in the Sky.”
The only point that truly hinders Straylight’s imminent popularity is the vocals. The main vocals are performed by John Nolan and are mediocre at best. His delivery is static, without phrasing and his tonal quality sounds a bit whiny. Vocals by his sister Michelle Nolan are the redeeming factor. Michelle’s voice is breathy and sweet but isn’t given the space to open up and shine. The listener is teased with her as lead in the opening track and on one verse of the chopped-up cover of Bob Dylan’s “Wide God on Our Side.” The rest of the time she is restricted to back-up.
All in all, Straylight Run is a talented group of musicians. With a solid level of traditional and modern musical choices, Prepare to Be Wrong can appeal to many listeners. If they can learn to balance their vocals better, there’s no telling what they can accomplish.