As the first bar of Austen Tale’s ‘Running’ rings out it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sense of familiarity; piano led melodramatic rock with pristine female vocals leading the charge to tug on our emotions in a meaningful way. It’s fair to say that Austen Tale flow very much in the same vein as Evanescence. It’s perhaps not suprising that when they flood over the banks of that tag they are at their most impressive.
Opener and title track Running is agreeable enough. The song utilises basic song dynamics, as piano led quiet verses lead into an emotional crescendo in the chorus, but things never take off as much as they should. The vocals are strong (as they are throughout the EP) but the performance is disappointingly flat, failing to lift proceedings above pleasantly formulaic.
Pray For You is where Austen Tale are at their best, a simple catchy pop tune that shows the band have an impressive ear for a memorable vocal hook. The vocal trade-off is also hugely effective, adding a whole new depth to the band that was lacking before. It’s a welcome shift through the gears and by far the best thing on offer throughout the EP.
Swinging Door also continues to show the band’s potential despite being admittedly rough around the edges. The finished product seems like a mixed bag of decent ideas hampered by never having the platform for them to be executed properly. Again the band performance is decent but the production values stifle the intended impact to the point where even the band sound indifferent by the end. It’s a trend that sadly continues for the remainder of ‘Running’. If proceedings don’t fully grind to a halt with the underwhelming Telescope they indefinitely stall with the instantly forgettable Story.
Despite this there is a sense of potential in ‘Running’ that is evident even in the weaker moments. Individual performances are strong, and more than enough to suggest that this is a band that has an ear for melody along with the musical ability to raise them above the dirge of the tired trend that has seeped in here. When the band ventures slightly out of their comfort zone they are at their most engaging. The real thrill to ‘Running’ is the possibility of what comes next, and if Austen Tale will rise to that challenge.