Straylight Run are coming to the UK this April. Starting in London on 5 April, they'll be making a seven-day trek through the Barfly venues of six cities in England, Scotland, and Wales. It took some time for the band to fully realise their live show, but it has come together to be an act not to be missed. Such are the trials and tribulations of throwing three experienced touring musicians (John Nolan, Shaun Cooper, Will Noon) together with a very inexperienced one (Michelle Nolan). From the beginning, Michelle was very timid onstage, but more recent performances have shown her bursting forth from her shell to command the stage with both her singing and playing. The band also adds a fifth member to their live performances in order to flesh out the sound.
In 2003, John (vocals, guitar) and Shaun (bass) decided to leave certain fame and fortune with emo rockers Taking Back Sunday due to 'artistic differences.' Rumours abounded about exact reasons for their departure from that band, but it's hard to argue with that official story after hearing the stylistic shift Straylight Run would represent. Soon, John and Shaun filled out the band with John's sister Michelle (vocals, guitar, keyboard) and former Breaking Pangaea drummer Will Noon.
With the band now complete, they forged their sound to be based on melodic singing and piano. Gone were the violent lyrics and screaming of emocore, as this new band chose to instead butter their bread with quiet, contemplative songs. Buzz built for the band quickly, as they released a set of six demos for free on the Internet and were quickly playing sold-out shows throughout the north-eastern United States.
By the time their eponymous debut was released in 2004, it was already clear that the members of Straylight Run were interested in advancing their sound. Two songs featured Michelle singing lead over John and, of those two, Tool Sheds And Hot Tubs, in particular, showed off a drum machine and dance beat not seen elsewhere on the album.
2005's EP Prepare To Be Wrong was mostly covers and new versions of old demos, but new song Hands In The Sky (Big Shot) demonstrated a layered, grandiose, and emotionally charged sound unique in their catalogue. It's difficult to guess where their next album The Needle, The Space might go. The Miracle That Never Came, an upbeat Michelle-fronted song of memories, has been released on their MySpace, but the band admits that it's unlike much of the new album.
- Kevin Garnett