Monday, December 13, 2010

Band photos: What can we learn?

Here is a new band from Manchester. They are called Run Toto Run. Let's have a look at their early press photos and see if they hold any clues to what sort of band they might be.

Message: Between us, we own up to three musical instruments.
Meaning: We are the sort of people who take music very seriously, even when it is pop music.

Message: Oh no, our heads have turned into animals. How can this be?
Meaning: We have taken note of the unique visual stylings of Goldfrapp.

Message: We continue to grasp several electronic instruments in our hands.
Meaning: Crime is rife in "the North".

Message: We are spooky and other-worldly and ethereal.
Meaning: We ran out of money for Christmas decorations this year.

Message: But we are also happy-go-lucky and carefree.
Meaning: On Sundays, I like to take my keyboard for a walk in the park.

So what have we gleaned? Run Toto Run are a band who take themselves less seriously than their music, who play electronic instruments, are a tiny bit "arty" and most probably have a lady vocalist.

Well, their campaign manager can pat himself heartily on the back, because that is entirely correct.

Run Toto Run are Rachael (vocals), Mike (synths) and Matt (electronics). Musically, they describe themselves as "uber DIY" and "the embodiment of musical Homebase". With influences including Sufjan Stevens, Bat For Lashes and Metronomy, they totally slot into that artpop pigeonhole, with the result that XFM has chosen them as one of its bands to watch in 2011.

The band's early material could kindly be described as "experimental twee" - full of glockenspiels and double bass and gossamer-thin vocals. Now that they've beefed up their sound with a kilogram of beef healthy dose of electronica, it's a revelation. Imagine if St Etienne had woken up this morning and realised their job was still making music, rather than endlessly re-releasing the songs they recorded last millennium. This is what it might sound like.

Run Toto Run - Catch My Breath

Run Toto Run - This Is A Lull

That last track, This Is A Lull, is the band's current single. The generally brilliant music blog Arjan Writes is offering you a guilt-free, 100% legitimiate, record label-approved download. How's about that?

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