Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Album Review: Heritage/Lineage/Hand-Me Downs/Scars (Your Birthmarks Do Not Bother Me)


Title:  Heritage/Lineage/Hand-Me Downs/Scars (Your Birthmarks Do Not Bother Me) (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby)

Superstar Runner is the brainchild of Springfield, MO’s Benjamin “Bailie” Johnson.  The songs on Heritage/Lineage/Hand-Me Downs/Scars (Your Birthmarks Do Not Bother Me) are indie pop singer/songwriter tunes driven by either piano or acoustic guitar depending on the track.  The record opens with the sparse “When Everything Else Comes & Goes (You Remain Steady)” that is simply Johnson and a piano.  Next is the acoustic guitar upbeat pop of “Growing Pains” (one of the record’s best moments).  The rest of the record essentially alternates between songs that are sparse and piano based and poppier guitar based numbers.  There are songs like “The Next Life Available (Is This One)” that seem to combine elements of both (being a poppy song lead by a piano).  Another standout moment on the record is the very fun.-esque “Advice From People Who Shouldn't Give It (Don't Take It)”—in other words it’s a crazily catchy song that has a crescendo chorus that makes the entire song sound like an anthem. 

Overall Heritage/Lineage/Hand-Me Downs/Scars (Your Birthmarks Do Not Bother Me) is a fascinating listen.  It works because it is so seemingly divergent at times but what holds it together is Johnson’s unique, almost childlike voice (this in no way is a slight, it’s just the only way I can really think to describe it).  This is a great record for fans of indie pop or people who have enjoyed fun. but would like to dig deeper into the musical landscape.

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