Roomrunner: Ideal Cities
(Fan Death, 5/28/13)
No mere band dissolution could hold down Denny Bowen, the erstwhile drummer of Baltimore’s Double Dagger. These days Bowen has pulled a Dave Grohl, handling guitar and vocals for a gangly parade of fuzzed-out, hook-filled noise rock with Roomrunner — a quartet that has solidified its sound after two promising EPs.
Whereas Double Dagger focused its energy into a pinpoint that was singer Nolan Strals, Roomrunner takes more of a machine-gun approach on its debut long-player, spraying its squawking, over-driven guitars aimlessly, praying for a hit (as on the scorcher “Weird”), then pulling it back for moments of garage-y simplicity before everything devolves into squeals of feedback (see “Wojtek”).
Bowen well knows the task of rhythmical tightness from his former gig, but Bret Lanahan is equally adept at pulling the band through the muck and mire of noise, coming out the other side renewed, full of piss and vinegar. “Bait Car,” with its driving rhythm but nearly demolished guitars, sounds for all the world like an In Utero B-side, with Lanahan handling Grohl duties like a champ.
Like a tropical storm, Ideal Cities lurches and sways between influences but stays on a steady plot towards its final, pummeling destination. With this album, Bowen has stepped far enough away from his old endeavors to make future comparisons to Double Dagger obsolete.