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).