Review: Raider – Runaway
Independent (June 10th: digital, July 24th: physical, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Raider, a five-piece band with a suspiciously familiar logo font, has arrived with their first album ‘Runaway‘. For those that have not heard of them, Raider are a band originating from South Wales and fronted by former The Voice UK contestant Mike Platt. I wish I could tell you more about this band, but I did not purchase their EP from 2020 and there is no other information I could find about them on the internet. That may sound like the beginnings of a negative review, but it is not. I just want to give credit where it’s due, especially for such a fine album as this.
This is just the type of album I want to listen to at just the right time of year. Summer is around the corner, and this is going to be my soundtrack for the season. If you enjoy the sounds of bands like Danger Danger, Trixter, and Firehouse then this will be right up your alley. Opening track ‘Dusk Til Dawn’ exemplifies the feel for the album. I first heard it while driving fast, with the windows down and not a cloud in the sky. A simple song about longing for a girl in the Summer and material that makes me feel young never gets old for me.
The title track is another killer tune with a great underlying synth bass rhythm and Mike reaching some impressive highs in the chorus. The mid-tempo ballad ‘Feel The Night’ is fortunately not too schmaltzy and features some heart felt guitar fills that convey a sense of both power and passion. Keyboards are used sporadically throughout the album but ‘Memories’ showcases the best use for them. Occasionally taking the forefront, the keys underline and elevate the rhythm, filling out the song to make it sound bigger than it would have been without them.
Nearly every song on the album can be rated as good to great. Unfortunately, due to some strange production decisions, there are two songs that are complete misses. While the production throughout the album is universal, two tracks stand out like a sore thumb. ‘High Speed Woman’ has a horrible mix where all the instruments are noticeably lower, resulting in the vocals being too prominent. The muddled sound of the instruments ruins what could have been a good song. ‘Sidewinder’ is the other track and is my least favorite because of the same production issues as well as the overall vibe of the track. A poor attempt at an old-school Van Halen-eque sound that does not align with anything else on the album.
One other critique to the album is the utilization of cliché lyrics you’ve heard hundreds of times before. Catchy rocker ‘We Had Tonight’ has a perfect example: “Working so hard, punching my card, I’ve got to be free”. Seems someone in the band was inspired by the Footloose soundtrack. That’s a minor quip to be expected in an album that sounds like it was designed to bring back the memories its target audience had all those years ago.
I’m not going to kid myself or anyone else by saying that Raider is as good as any of the more popular bands back in the late 80s, but they certainly come close to the mark. It’s always great for me to make room for one more new band on that “drive down to the beach” playlist. Don’t let those two outlier tracks deter you, this is an album you’re going to want to add to your playlist as well.