Straylight Run

In April of 2003, Taking Back Sunday went through an ordeal that threatened the existence of the band. Difficulty amongst band members lead to the departure of John Nolan (backing vocals/guitar/keyboards) and Shaun Cooper (bass). Nolan was not about to let his musical career end, so he and Cooper started Straylight Run. It was decided that Nolan would sing lead vocals and play guitar, while Cooper would play bass. The next step was to find the rest of their band. After a long search, they gathered Nolan's sister, Michelle Nolan (keyboards) who had previously made vocal appearances with Taking Back Sunday. Will Thomas Noon took over on drums. As much as the band may (or may not) deny it, there are many similarities in sound between Straylight Run and another 'unmentionable' band: Straylight Run take the mellower elements of Taking Back Sunday, and emphasize their intensity and harmonic value. There's also irony in the fact that Straylight Run features Breaking Pangaea's ex-drummer, while Taking Back Sunday features Breaking Pangaea's ex-singer. Comparisons aside, Straylight Run are definitely able to hold their own. Intense, driving vocals meet catching guitar hooks and beautiful piano sections. Michelle Nolan's backing vocals fit very well with the band's sound. I admire the fact that she is careful about not taking center stage (because she is the only female member). There's also something kind of cute about the collaboration between brother and sister. There are indeed some awkward points on this album, but I think the band may have intended this to represent life's awkwardness and unexpectedness. Despite a few rough edges this debut is a success. My favorite songs are: "The Perfect Ending", "The Tension And The Terror", "Existentialism On Prom Night", "Mistake We Knew We Were Making" and "Now It's Done" (sung by Michelle Nolan).

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