Deficit of Dreams
Central Florida’s RunnAmuckS have long seemed gimmicky: their t-shirts and record covers are shamelessly emblazoned with copyright protected comic book characters, the group went out of their way to cut one release at Sun Studios (hallowed home of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, et al), and once upon a time they (allegedly) tossed cat feces at a club owner with whom they reached an impasse. Of course, none of this really reflects on the RunnAmuckS music, previously a fierce, intimidating, and fun punk/metal hybrid. One could look past the blatant theft of Marvel hero Steve Rogers when the jams were as searing as those on 2001’s On The Brink or 2003’s Of A Different Breed.
Now, a decade-plus after their formation, the ‘Mucks have calmed things down for a new genre their calling “panic pop.” While the lyrics appear to carry more bitterness and frustration than blank fear, the rocky rumblings behind singer Josh Dobbs’ throaty half-whispers certainly pop in more places than not (the ballad “Don’t Cry For Me” opens with piano work worthy of a slot in the “American Idol” stratosphere). Unfortunately, bland songwriting and flat production mar Deficit of Dreams, stalling a band that once had no issue with bite or charisma. Furthermore, Dobbs paints himself into various melodic corners from which he can’t jump free. It is painfully disappointing to see the wheels come off like this, but not all sneering rockers are meant to soften up.
The RunnAmuckS need to get back to their roots—by which I mean they should scoop up some kitty poop with their bare hands at the next available opportunity. Also, do they know Steve Rogers isn’t dead anymore?
FINAL SCORE: One and a half sad Captain Americas (out of four).
Came across this recap of 2006 (penned by yours truly when 2007 was just days old) tonight in the digital catacombs. Let’s LOL along at how silly I was x amount of years ago.
I greet the new year in style, gorging myself on one of those giant greasy-ass breakfast sandwiches at a Jack in the Box just outside of Charlotte, NC (yes, some of us go to the Carolinas for pleasure). A few weeks later, I get into trouble at my substitute teaching job for telling a high school physics class the moon landing may have been faked. This incident makes me realize the American school system is totally fucked and that I need a new job like yesterday.
Grandpa Munster dies. I quit the sub gig and officially give up my dream of one day teaching Eskimo children general history for $65,000 a year. My girlfriend gets me a Phil Ochs CD for Valentine’s Day. I return the favor by taking her to Olive Garden.
Harcourt School Publishers offer me a project editing position, which I take, partially because their office is situated directly across the street from SeaWorld. Over the next few months I burn many a lunch break watching dolphins appease their wet-suited, fish-bearing overlords.
No one attempts to fool me on the first day of the month, and I frown. Scary Movie 4 is released. I see it opening night. The biggest laugh in the film is a Myspace reference.
The “American Idol” finale is almost too stressful to bear. Taylor Hicks is announced as the winner. My McPheever suddenly wears off. I scream “SOUL PATROL!” at the top of my lungs and begin dancing to imaginary harmonica riffs. I am the ultimate sell out.
The band I play drums for goes into an actual professional studio to record two songs. I am proud to make it through the recording process without crying. Later, we all decide to have drinks/dinner together at a local eatery. A fight nearly breaks out when the server refuses to believe our singer’s ID is legit. Cooler heads eventually prevail and singer guy gets his Miller Genuine Draft. I arrive home hoping the cable is on in my new apartment. It isn’t, and I consider sleeping in my car as some kind of misguided protest.
After much soul-searching, I quit the band. The world continues to turn.
My friend Michael gets free passes to see World Trade Center. He cannot find a single person in the universe who wants to see it, even for free. Too soon? Yeah, too soon.
I lose my job at Harcourt, which comes as a bigger shock than the John Mark Karr confession. Most of my co-workers seem genuinely upset to learn I will no longer be working with them. This makes me feel better. The possibility of a Mets World Series appearance also lifts my spirits.
A friend asks me to play a doctor in his student film. At one point, the script calls for me to pretend to butt fuck a vampire who is high on pot. I do not question my friend’s artistic vision. My girlfriend and I hold a Halloween party at the end of the month. A neighbor assures me said party is “off the hook.”
A new Tupac album comes out. I start to get pumped for Rocky Balboa.
An encounter with a hungry raccoon early in the month proves frightening. I see Rocky Balboa and it meets my high expectations despite the absence of the heavily-rumored Ivan Drago AIDS death plotline. For Christmas, I get a tie rack. Gerald Ford finally dies, but no one cares because James Brown dies like two seconds later.