Artist: Boy Harsher
Title: The Runner
Genre: Electronic / Dance / Coldwave / Drone / EBM / Soundtrack
Release Date: 21st January 2022
Label: NudeClub Records
‘The Runner’ is BOY HARSHER’s 5th album release but it’s not a “traditional” album. It’s instead a soundtrack to a short film they produced called ‘The Runner’. It’s a horror movie cum documentary about the band’s recording process and includes several distinct components which are cinematic arrangements, vocal features, and the classic dark Pop we’ve all grown to love. Last year during the depths of this plague chaos August Muller started working on moody cinematic sketches, at the time he had no idea what these pieces would become, other than cathartic. Jae Mathews was also diagnosed with MS, so ‘The Runner’ also took on a further dimension as a conduit for exorcism. During her period of convalescence, a sinister character kept popping up in Jae’s mind, a female running through woods. This movie, ‘The Runner’, would be a reconciliation of this time and it processes feelings of universal anxiety and the confrontation of Jae’s own illness. All this had to be expelled and exorcised! Well then dear reader, let’s jump in and see what the fuss is all about, eh...
Proceedings commence with the eerie one note bump of ‘Tower’. This is swishy and dreamy and has a slight detachment to it, the gaze is not quite direct, it’s mainly side glancing or a glance up. ‘Gimme A Reason’ is a danceable piece that has a slightly jaunty beat whilst retaining dreamy detachment that borders on cold but is not quite cold, yet. This is miserable dance music. ‘Autonomy’ harks back to the early days of NEW ORDER and THE HUMAN LEAGUE. I transport myself back to that time when I’d dance in a dark corner of a dance floor with my fringe flopping in my eyes as I lolled from side to side. Self-absorbed with a sinew of attention on what’s around me and trying not slip over on spilt beer. The sparse production of this gets to the point. This is like comparing a RAW file to JPG. The RAW file has more detail but the JPG gets to the point, you see the gist of the message! The keyboard line all through this is sharp!
‘The Ride Home’ pulses dark atmosphere, it oozes tension. Jae vocalizes in the background, it's like a siren songstress from the depths sending sound rippling through dark waters. Yes, the vocal is more lucid and in the now on ‘Escape’. It’s about breaking free from convention, how things have been done musically or in life generally. We are in the here and now and the vocal states “What’s done is done, old friend”. This is like a moment of clarity and a step into something new and unknown. ‘Machina’ is a staccato Latin high energy track and reminds of something that Italian “songstress” Sabrina Salerno would have sung way back in 1987. But this is less bubble gum sex and more like bubble gum covered in machine coldness. You dance to it but there’s no lycra clad, leg warming fun! It’s not girly whirly but more dominatrix, I like it, I like the cold wit! The vocals are not Jae’s they are delivered.
‘I Understand’ ends the album and is short and sweet. It’s thoughtful and keyboard led and has a Bladerunner vibe because it reminds me of the scenes with Deckhard and Rachael. But it also has that final acceptance of a situation and the understanding of that situation. No more fighting it cos you can’t fight what can’t be changed. The change is now part of you! Not bad actually, not bad at all. This has it all, darkness, coldness, rays of warmth, fantasy, desire, emotional blockage, emotional release, minimalism and seediness along with the miserable dance vibe I mentioned earlier. I can’t think of anything negative to add to this, it’s just 28 minutes and 17 seconds of freshness stamped into a genre I’ve listened to for 40 years. Let’s leave there, shall we? No, let’s not! Jae Mathew’s voice is enigmatic! It’s smoky and seedy and cold and vacant and distant and miserable and topped with smirkiness.
I’ll go now!
02. Give Me A Reason
03. Autonomy (Featuring Lucy - Cooper B handy)
04. The Ride Home
06. Machina (Featuring Ms BOAN - Mariana Saldana)
08. I Understand
Jae Mathews – Vocals
August Muller – Keyboards
https://boyharsher.com / https://www.facebook.com/boyharsher
Total 9 / 10