Boston brings together a very diverse and eclectic collection of artists. On the one hand you have the heavier, sludgier, dirtier side of rawk which permeates the scene more dominantly but on the other side, you have these introspective artists who tend to get overlooked or overshadowed.
One of those artists is Runnerup whose just released Happy to Be Here EP is that breath of fresh air that demands your attention. And how could you not love what Robert Steiner and band are shoveling out? “Unsurprising Line” kicks it all off and is this glistening experiment in Americana with Steiner pondering: “Now what’s all the fuss/Crown the king of something or other/But if it’s not too much/I don’t want a reward/But I’d kill for a gesture”
“Don’t Call Me Selfish” picks up the pace and is a little like Guster in their Pop prime with an expertly laid percussive foundation from Andrew Goldberg while “Willie Loman” is Blues-laden until “San Francisco” subtly saunters in and is oh so familiar yet stands out thanks to Steiner’s unique vocal style and songwriting mastery.
The title track closes things out serenely with these subtle guitar lines that put the focus on Steiner’s fret work as well as his voice with producer/mixer Cairo Marques-Neto adding some synthetic flourishes to the already lush musical texture of the Runnerup sound.