If a deal is struck...
Victoria Goldsmith
18:58 23rd January 2006

Morning Runner are here with their debut album 'Wilderness Is Paradise Now', and the four lads - who met and formed the band in Reading before signing to Parlophone - definitely give pre-conceptions and stereotyping of the Indie label some food for thought.  Full of achingly honest lyrics, lacking the pretension so many recent bands seem to actively strive for, Morning Runner are refreshing to both our stereo's, and faith in what is increasingly becoming throw-away, "fashionable" music.  With eleven strong tracks, telling stories of obsession, depression, jealousy and desperation, 'WIPN' defines the band as... well, a band hard to define.

Opening with one of the strongest tracks, 'It's Not Like Everyone's My Friend', we begin our journey through the world of the 'Runners. Pulled in by the gorgeous vocals and soft intro, we are then plunged into a dizzy guitar frenzy, as the catchy chorus resonates through our happy heads.  Bassist Tom Berret has described the song to be "about realising you can't be close to everyone", and the bitter-sweet feeling from this jerks throughout the song, making for an intense ride.  Equally as powerful is the searing 'Have A Good Time', with its pulsing drums and ambiguous lyrics giving it a feel good edge mixed with a strange poignancy.  Forthcoming single 'Burning Benches', with its haunting piano intro and beautiful vocals, before assaulting all senses with crashing melodious noise, makes for a simply stunning track.  'The Great Escape' is blatantly "borrowing" ideas from the Magic Numbers, and lets the album down with such obvious comparisons.  ‘Work’ is a twisting tale of getting over someone.  With lyrics such as “nothing here reminds me of you”, it’s quite a defiant little number that, in fast becoming a typical Morning Runner style, plays itself out against the bouncy/heavy dynamic.  Concluding track ‘Best For You’ is a rich and heartfelt ballad, full of love and sadness at the same time, giving the ‘Wise goosebumps all over.

Morning Runner look set to be heavyweight contenders for the next big, beautiful thing, and this debut album is testament to their worthiness. If you’re still suffering from a bout of winter blues, go grab a copy, for ultimately, this is an uplifting,  philosophical, and rewarding little piece of pleasure.