By: Jessica Grose
Calling your band Slow Runner implies a certain aw-shucks modesty: It’s someone confident enough in his abilities to call himself a runner, but who’s so humble that he has to modify the word with slow. Featuring understated piano work, a frontman with a honey-soothed voice, and a gentle overlay of electronic blips and bleeps, this Runner doesn’t need any modest modifying adjectives; this band should be boasting success, at any speed.
Often when electronic sounds are superimposed on such delicate music, the technology overwhelms the beauty. But with the South Carolina-based trio, the robotics only illuminate the fragility of the songs. Frontman Michael Flynn has a relatable voice: It’s soft, empathetic, and familiar, helping the narrative traverse the inherent pain and difficulty of a journey into adulthood. The band even has a song called “Moody Suburban Teenage Love Song.”
The best example of Flynn’s well-crafted lyrics tackling the business of quarter-life crisis comes on “Break Your Mama’s Back,” where the singer runs through a laundry list of silly post adolescent rebellions: “Change your name / Pierce your face / Run away / Get lewd / Sleep ’til noon / New tattoo / Start fights / Two black eyes / Motorbikes / Drive fast / Dress in black / Step on cracks / Break your mama’s back.” Sure, there’s a bit of irony in these various upheavals, but compassion remains the basic kernel in Flynn’s songwriting.