Straylight Run - Straylight Run (Cover Artwork)

Straylight Run

Straylight Run: Straylight RunStraylight Run (2004)
Victory Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: colincolin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

When last we met, I was reviewing Taking Back Sunday's new album, Where You Want To Be, and basically said that the breakup of the group provided at least one forgettable album. Well, make that two. Almost, at least. Don't believe the hype, folks. Although not nearly as close to the definition.
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When last we met, I was reviewing Taking Back Sunday's new album, Where You Want To Be, and basically said that the breakup of the group provided at least one forgettable album.

Well, make that two. Almost, at least.

Don't believe the hype, folks. Although not nearly as close to the definition of mediocrity as the 'rival' band, Straylight Run has created a disc filled with awkward pseduo-pop, piano driven dual vocals and rather poor writing, with a few exceptions that are just fantastic. I guess it's in the same vein as Ben Folds, but I've never been a fan of his.

The album does start off very unexpected. The piano ballad "The Perfect Ending" is actually quite a nice song in a sing-me-to-sleep kind of way. Soothing vocals and ambient background noise is in. However, the thing that really hit me was the writing; I had figured since the songwriting of Taking Back Sunday took such a downfall that John Nolan had done most of it. Unfortunately, if it was that way, this album sure doesn't showcase it. The lyrics are see obvious, easy, and not seemingly fit for this genre of midtempo pop rock. I mean, I might not enjoy Ben Folds, but from what I've listened to him, the guy can write a decent set of lyrics.

"Existentialism on Prom Night" and "Another Word for Desperate" are probably two of the three very strong tracks on the album. "Existentialism..." showcases the strong points of what this band offers; the piano is excellent, the constant rolling drums are good, even the writing is strong in that 'if I was still in high school I could relate' kind of way. By the time when all the music stops except John and his piano, you really just can't complain. "Desperate" follows up with a slow and harrowingly beautiful narrative sung both by John and sister Michelle Nolan. Again, this is a song that highlights all the strongpoints of the band. The ending and breakdown seem like they could have been structured better, perhaps a little more originally, but overall it is a very strong track. It's the first real glimpse into the power of Michelle's voice, which would be fully unleased later on.

"Mistakes We Knew We Were Making" is another track that is decent, but nothing that will stand out in your memory after the CD stops in your player. It's not a bad tune, not outstanding, just a good song. "Dignity and Money" however, is not. It seems like a schizophrenic song; there's the rolling bass drum intro with a seeming looming aura of destruction, but then when the bridge comes in, the song turns into an MTV hit, and when the chorus hits it just doesn't sound like the same song. It's not really coherent, and that really turned me away.

"Your Name Here (Sunrise Highway)" is long. It's long, nice, but can get boring. At this point in the album I'm really missing Nolan's screaming voice from Taking Back Sunday. His gritty vocals are far superior to the boyish tones he produces on this CD. When I first heard this song, it was one of my favorites on the album. After awhile, it just faded away as 'just another track.' Too bad, because right after it is "Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs," a song that intros with an electronic beat and is just god awful. Although it is finally nice to hear the female vocals, this is a horrible song that I just can't stand listening to. The writing is elementary, and the structure and even the simple sound of the song are just bad. "It's For The Best" comes up next, with probably my favorite lyrics of the album about drinking too much, and much like "Mistakes..." it's a good song, not outstanding, but not bad.

"Now It's Done" is an outstanding song. The lyrics are a beautiful narrative, with the introduction painting an amazing picture; "Moving in slow like the smoke from your cigarette / Every step closer is a step that we both will regret." Michelle Nolan's voice is incredible, and there's a point 2:56 into the song where she sings at the same note as the introduction to the guitar solo, and it's probably the single greatest moment on the album, and as far as music goes, stuff like that is just great. It's just an amazing song and really is worth checking out. Very slow, very well put together and produced.

Is this album punk rock? No. In the least bit? No, except for the connection to Victory Records, and the fact this thing will get labeled as 'emo' by people who don't know any better. Should this album even be reviewed on this site? Probably not. But, everyone should still enjoy trying new music every now and then, and if you have a spare few minutes, check this album out, or at least "Now It's Done." It's not the greatest album of the year, surely not the worst, and will probably be forgotten in a few months. Plus, being the graphic designer I am, I must say that Jason Oda of StarvingEyes did a damn fine job on the album artwork, and that is always a plus.


People who liked this also liked:
The Explosion - Flash Flash FlashLucero - That Much Further WestWeezer - PinkertonWeezer - MaladroitWeezer - WeezerDecibully - City Of FestivalsCeremony - Scared People [7 inch]La Quiete - La Fine Non è La Fine [12 inch]Assholeparade - EmbersL'antietam - Family

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
telephonewire (June 13, 2007)

i love this cd so much. i was disappointed when john nolan left taking back sunday, but i think that he's better with straylight run. i think that lyrically it's really great, and the sound is so different from what i was expecting from him.

and the comments about michelle?
how fucking old are you guys? the last time i heard shit like that was from middle schoolers that think they're bad ass.

BooFace (November 18, 2005)

very original and i like it alot
but im not going out to buy their new album

Anonymous (February 9, 2005)

Finally, after searching and searching for this album I have it in my hot little hands (I live in Australia it is hard to find music here). And I have to say that I disagree with your review here...
This album is pretty fantastic. While some of the points made in the review are valid (some of the songs Dignity & Money etc. miss the mark a little) this album is thoroughly enjoyable. Songs such as 'Its For the Best', 'Existentialism on Prom Night' , 'The Tension and The Terror' are all fantasitc!
It is a credit to Nolan that he (with Shaun Cooper( bass), Will Noon (drums) and his sister Michelle) have had the courage to go out and do something new. THis album could be described as soft rock or even low-fi at times... And is a total about turn from Nolan's work in Taking Back Sunday.. This is a quality album for fans of bands like Jimmy Eat World etc.
This album may have not been given a chance by fans that were expecting a 'TBS/Brand New esque' band, however is a fantastic listen and promises to be in my favourie list for a long time hence forth.

nuthinbutdisastor (January 11, 2005)

although it does not fall under any genre i have ever heard of, it is still great music from a very talented nolan, even though some of the songs were to" pop" for my taste, i really enjoyed :another word for desperate", existenalism on prom night", "your name here", and "now its done", i also like jjohns sisters awesome vocal, perfict pitch and tone, in every verse, i also downloaded some of there songs from the demo i think i might have liked them a lil bit more

emo?, no
punk?, no
something new?, yes

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

This is real art. Nice work on this one. I seriously can't believe some of the sexist comments people are making about Michelle. Does it not sink in that she is human? Fucking unreal that scum like that gets away with it. But, then again they are posting it from home on a computer.

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

i am an idiot
I never bought this cd, i just burned it.
I never understood why everyone thought "toolsheds" was so terrible.
Today (almost 2 months later) I realized i've had the acoustic version........the original version, well....it does blow hard.
download the acoustic version if you care, cause it's about 5 times better

Anonymous (October 24, 2004)

john nolan should have stayed with taking back sunday.
both bands suck.

Anonymous (October 24, 2004)

When i downloaded the demos of straylightrun.com, i didn't like this band much. Johns voice was kinda out of tune and a little too crackly/raspy for my taste, but the actual album is a little bit better in that sense, johns voice sings perfectly in tune. i'd say its an okay album overall.

Anonymous (October 21, 2004)

This is not a punk, emo or any-sort-of-core album. People who write that SR and bands alike will destroy the punk scene, need to consider what punk-rock "was" before Refused's "The shape of punk to come", what EMO "was" before Bob Tilton's first full-length and essentially why we're still not only listening to Beethoven or drumming on pieces of logs. If you are trying to save music, make that music, your opinions will not change fuck-o. But then, what does in this world where everything and nothing changes every day?
In any event, the album is really good and I suggest you check it out. This band is still only a child and so even better things ought to be expected!

Anonymous (October 21, 2004)

Great songs, great art-work, great album. Listen to existentialism, dignity and money and now it??s done.

Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

Why all the woman hating? Steer clear of the kids who will suggest you turn to old No Doubt, Save Ferris, Juliette and the Licks, The Distillers, and Pretty Girls Make Graves

Clearly you need to check out The Cranberries!!!


But that's if you want a band.... if you want THE ROCK.... just stick with Hilary Duff. So much power. So much pop. She brings the rock.

Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

call me the gay guy but i like her first song. i know it is probably for the chicks but i think it is pretty good. music misses a real good female singer. i own say 200 CD's or so and not one is a woman fronted band. i am ashamed. get with it women.

Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

I am the God of Punk Rock!
My site, and my site alone, decided what Punk Rock Albumz sell and don't sell! My in-depth staff memberz post news articles on all the biggest happeningz in Punk Rock, like what kindz of shoez Yellowcard wearz!

-Jason Tate, Joe (or is it "John" Strumer's replacement!!! :) ! )

Anonymous (October 18, 2004)

You folks make it seem like Jason Tate is a remarkably powerful man.

colin (October 18, 2004)


the reason there are taking back sunday / thursday clones out there is because there are certain websites out there who promote such bands to such an ungodly and quite biased extent that the kids these days just (somehow) can't see through that they're almost destined to get popular. straylight run, as much as i had hoped out of nolan, is just not a good band. but they'll sell a ton of albums, and simply because of being promoted the right way.

unfortunately, the seemingly most absolute punk way to do things is to just get an endorsement through the internet and have a ton of 17 year old 'rebels' who 'see through corporate radio' and 'all of mtvs bullshit' really 'connect' to your album. it's pathetic, it's destroying punk rock, and i truly believe that the possiblities of the internet are being wasted on livejournals and myspace accounts and jason tate's ego.

milestogo (October 17, 2004)

I love this album. I like how calm this whole album is. It's different and it's about time there is something different to listen to. Great music is to be heard on this album by this band. Everyone whould at least check it out and judge it for themselves before they make any opinions about this band. I bet you many kids will try and copy this band now. Just watch and see what happens. Soon there won't be many TBS clones.

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

How To Clean Your Toilet - The Fun Way
Instructions on how to clean your toilet

. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet
shampoo to the water in the bowl.

2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him
towards the bathroom.

3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and
close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid.

4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never
mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually
enjoying this.

5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a
6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure
that there are no people between the bathroom and the front

7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly
lift both lids.

8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through
the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.

9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.

The Dog

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

"you guys dont realize how easy she is do you?

she's a bad lay, and hairy down below."

Dude, what is your fucking problem? I love if when a girl's got a jungle down there. It's a lot more fun, as the pubes tickle your nostrils and stuff.


Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

is this band what you guys call "Tatecore?"
Fuck you, buddy. Fuck you.
-Jason Tate "

It's true. Add it to the list of bands that you hype time and time again. It doesn't even have to be good for you to hype this kind of bullshit. It's all a fucking fashion trend on your site.. citing the latest gossip... it's fucked man. Stick to the news, and everyone wins. Your hype trickles down to all your reviewers who can't even construct proper scentences... just shut down your site, please.

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

this band needs to get run over in the face about 500 times in a row.

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

This review is totally on the right track. And he's right, starving eyes did a wonderful number on the layout. I want to have sex with everyone at that company so I can take their skill.

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

OK, I'm going to be honest...after reading all the reviews I came into this CD completing expecting to hate "Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs," being as it's slightly electronic and has female lead vocals. I find it entirely listenable and pretty decent even in the context of the rest of the album.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

Tate... stop praising a band that stinks up the joint when compared the he power of Hilary Duff.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

you guys are tasteless assholes. Treat her like a lady for christ sake

-Jason Tate
AIM: Twenty8FootFall

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

you guys dont realize how easy she is do you?

she's a bad lay, and hairy down below.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

the michelle nolan comment was very immature and sexist.

score is for the comment about her cooch. well done.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

i turned down the chance to see straylight in new york tonight and i didn't even do anything with the evening... forgot to poop.

Anonymous (October 14, 2004)

i love the duff chatter. i'm a huge duff fan, but i think i favor the first album, becuase its more simple. i liked the powerpop stuff. anyway straylight is decent, i saw em right after they got together. nolan's voice isn't so hot, but michelle is hot. i like slow descent.

swingline (October 14, 2004)

score is for the comment:

"Duff's songs are infectious like Michelle Nolan's cooch"

Anonymous (October 14, 2004)

Hilary Duff's new album DESTROYS these peppy pop pooper ballads.

Duff's songs are more complex and inspired.

And Duff, at least (as opposed to John Nolan) hasn't lost her pop sensibilities with her new material, while increasing her rockability factor. Nolan has gone soft since leaving TBS, while Duff is climbing the mountain of rock idolotry. Some of her new songs seem like Greg Ginn wrote the chorus for.

Duff's songs are infectious like Michelle Nolan's cooch.

Allular (October 14, 2004)

Uh. The Starlite Desperation are fucking TERRIBLE. One of the worst, pretentious bands I've ever seen live.

Anonymous (October 14, 2004)

good review, took the words straight out of my mouth (and spelled them correctly) :)

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

I always confuse this band with Starlite Desperation because the names are similar (although the music sounds nothing alike, with Starlite Desperation coming out on top)

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

these song are so much better than the demos, because he is finally singing in tune

thank you autotune! thank you!

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

"now it's done" is very Cardigans-esque, probably my favourite song on the album."

This is my favorite song on the album too. it's sad how people don't appreciate when a band tries to do something different every now and then. It's a damn good song with good production showing off her vocals. I think it's only natural for a band to explore new territory.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

I want Michelle Nolan to defecate in a bag and throw it in the crowd, like DEP's singer did at Reading 2002. I swear to God I would put a stick in it, freeze it, then lick it like a popsicle.


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

anyone else think this band sounds like dillenger four?

Icapped2pac (October 13, 2004)

Great review, dude. Don't let the malcontent jerkoffs on this site get to you.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

i enjoy this album....

"now it's done" is very Cardigans-esque, probably my favourite song on the album.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)


I'm in a band and our entire purpose is to intimidate Taking Back Sunday.

Lots of heckling and we steal their clothes from the lockerooms. Also, we leave menacing notes and dead flowers on their windshields.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

i meant imitate, not intimidate. sorry

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

to the reviewer:

dont listen to these people, the review is good. although i think some of the songs are better than just mediocre.

i also give john nolan some credit....he could have easily just wrote the same kind of music he did for tbs but at least he's trying something different. it might not be great or anything, but we certainly don't need another band out there trying to intimidate taking back sunday.

thank you for reading

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

"If you don't like this kind of music, maybe you shouldn't be reviewing it."

no see, that's the whole point of reviewing. see, if everyone in the world only reviewed things they really enjoyed, every record ever made would be "the best ever made". and obviously that's not the case. maybe you should try giving an objective review of something you hated, without saying "their label sucks", or "they are sellouts", or "this band sucks - so fuck them".

i thought this was one of the best reviews on this site in a long time; and no i'm not in love with straylight run (which undoubtedly, most people will assume). so fucking what that the reviewer doesn't like straylight run, or ben folds, or whatever.

sickboi (October 13, 2004)

Wow, people are starting to imitate me again.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

Sometimes I get the feeling people here automatically dislike anything they hear was advertised on ap.net.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

great review.

I think 'sunrise highway' is fantastic though, and 'perfect ending' gets boring, so switch your opinons of those songs and you've got my review.

michelle's first song on the album is definately the worst cut on the cd. her second song is quite the opposite.

tension and terror/existentialism are the two best tracks. desperate is the best follow up to those two songs.

dignity and money/mistakes we knew are both solid but not remarkable. the last song on the cd is pretty cool.

and yes, 'its for the best' is a great song w/ some of the better lyrics on the album.

in the end though, i wish TBS woiuld have made a second album, i mean the real TBS. w/ Nolan's ear for softer melody's, more earnest delivery and desire to innovate combined w/ adams cockyness, desire to write catchier songs and more energetic delivery...man. could have been a great album. Now we have two pretty good subdivisions, but neither the new TBS or straylight lives up to the first TBS record IMO.


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

finally, an honest review- ever since the TBS break-up, people have been picking sides, choosing one band over the other, hyping up both..... im sick of it, shut up, let these people play music

i loved the SR demos- raw, gritty, new- this just isn't the case with the album- the old songs are way too over-produced and the new songs aren't as good- the songs that are good... are amazing- prom night, #9 (whatever it's called) and maybe 2 more, are awesome songs, no complaints here.

But the other songs aren't just mediocre, they're reakky bad- The techno beat song is just irritating, and the others all blend in together....

Point is- average album, nothing more

Marlon (October 13, 2004)

Better question: What the hell is Jason Tate doing retaliating to comments about him on punk news? Cause like if he's gonna do that he's got a lot more work to do then just in this review...

colin (October 13, 2004)

to all the comments so far directed at me (i apolgoize for spelling and grammar, it's been a long night and i am very , very drunk):

- i am reviewing this album because it caught my itnerest from teh start. if you read my review of taking back sunday's cd, you'll know i really love their first album, primarlily because of john nolan, so iwas looking forward to this.

- to the fellow that said they don't respect my opinion due to ben folds: dude, i like the new blood brothers too. people have different tastes, get over it.

i try and give fair and honest reviews, no matter what the band or genre. please don't judge them from a subjective point fo view as i try to be 100% objective in my review. i could have said "i loved john nolan in taking back sunday and michelle nolan is a fucking hottie, therefore this cd gets an 8 even though half the songs are forgettable an there's only 3 or 4 standout tracks." but i didn't. i reviewed it honestly... i can't see why i'm being accosted for my review of an album that you all probably don't like anyways.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

If you don't like this kind of music, maybe you shouldn't be reviewing it.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

tool sheds and hot tubs gets my vote for worst song of the year. and the guitar solo on now it's done is TERRIBLE.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

maybe she could collect her pussy juices and put it in a jar for you

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

I want Michelle Nolan to defecate in a bag and throw it in the crowd, like DEP's singer did at Reading 2002. I swear to God I would put a stick in it, freeze it, then lick it like a popsicle.


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

Hey guys really enjoyed the Hilary Duff CD review!


Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

i stopped reading after you said your not a fan of Ben Folds. its hard to take your opinions seriously after that. the score is for the blood brothers new cd.

swingline (October 12, 2004)

tatecore loves fallout boy. fallout boy loves tate. its wonderful!

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Five out of Ten? You ARE taking the piss, right? This is at least worth an eight, and probably a nine - but then looking at your past review scores you are a tool, so I guess it's to be expected.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

I thought my day was going bad since Walmart doesn't carry Crimes. But oh man, that post below was a good laugh. Saved the day.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

is this band what you guys call "Tatecore?"

Fuck you, buddy. Fuck you.

-Jason Tate

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Victory Records and this band are un-American garbage. The American Nativist Party disapproves.

TheMarc (October 12, 2004)

This score is for Ben Folds in Normal, IL last week. Fucking amazing.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

boys night out and matchbook romance are tatecore

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Hey guys really enjoyed the Leftover crack CD review!


Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

is this band what you guys call "Tatecore?"

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

to some of the replies (this is colin, i'm just not logged in):

- i put effort into reviews no matter what the album, punk or not ... to do otherwise would be discriminatory. certain websites seem to believe that this album is the best of the year. it certainly is not, and without a thorough analasys, my review could be considered pure trash if i didn't back it up with reasons.

- when i brought in the ben folds comparison, it just seemed like some of the songs matched folds' style of folky honkey tonkish alt rock with a piano... not that it was on the same caliber as folds.

- as far as the camera i use, it's the canon digital rebel. thanks for the compliment!

swingline (October 12, 2004)

hey colin, what camera do you use? i checked out some of your photography. good stuff, i like it.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

i refuse to listen to anything made by anyone having to do with the shitfest that is taking back sunday.

gladimnotemo (October 12, 2004)

"Is this album punk rock? No. In the least bit? No, except for the connection to Victory Records, and the fact this thing will get labeled as 'emo' by people who don't know any better. Should this album even be reviewed on this site? Probably not."

Why is the review not just this paragraph? For being such a terrible album, you put a lot of effort into it.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Comparable to Ben Folds?

theOneTrueBill (October 12, 2004)

Yet another reason why Victory sucks.

Imposs1ble (October 12, 2004)

Don't bring Ben Folds into this.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

man i miss taking back sunday

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

I'll have to admitt, I loved the demo's so much that I was uber excited for the cd. Kinda let me down. my favorite demo "Tension ..." seemed to lose its energy. Oh well, this is a good break from my new found metalcore cd's.

Yes, please feel the sarcasm on the metalcare part.

mykindofmurder (October 12, 2004)

the OG demos do own this album. what a waste. at the very least, they are done with victory.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

the way the reviewer sounded, i think at least three stars is warranted. i'd give it higher, but i will agree that tool sheds and hot tubs is a fucking awful song. there's no explaining that turd.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Great review.


inagreendase (October 12, 2004)

Meh. I somewhat enjoyed the original demos. They're easily the best songs here.

maverick (October 12, 2004)

This record is so plain and white-bread. Someone needs to smack John Nolan on the head and tell him "Hey! You're not Elliott Smith. You're not some kind of genius musical troubadour. You write nu-pop-punk songs. Stop trying this experimental bullshit."


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