A melancholy record for a melancholy time.
As we can all attest, the past 18 months or so have been a pretty tough time for many, with our physical, mental and financial health severely impacted, and emotionally we’re simply all over the place. Many artists have addressed this period in our lives by producing testimony in the form of music that will inform future generations how we felt during this time. Runnner, the project vehicle for songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Noah Weinman, has released ‘Always Repeating’, which could certainly fit this category.
Self-produced and recorded across a number of locations using a mobile recording set-up, this is a collection of songs about self-doubt, of leaving places, losing friends, changing environments, of uncertainty. Weinman sings of feeling lost, and the desire to reconnect with left behind people and places. He hoped to create a homemade sound, a little rough around the edges, as if the listener was there as the record was being made which he does achieve, resulting in a very effective production.
Some multi-instrumentalists like to show off their prowess and end up overkilling their project with simply too much going on. Weinman doesn’t fall foul here; he plays a lot of the instruments but knows how to blend and bring sounds together effectively. There are curious mixes of sounds and instruments, including a banjo and subtle trumpet in ‘Urgent Care’, and there are interesting and different rhythms throughout, including the rather delightful ‘Bodysurfing’.
There is a touch of Bon Iver about this collection, with an overall sense of melancholy and introspection, the songs telling tales of being away from home, from somewhere or someone loved. Weinman tells of the feeling of loneliness when making the record and that feeling has truly been captured. Listeners could at some points start yearning for some lightness and pace, but perhaps this isn’t the objective. It is a little samey, perhaps not enough depth in diversity in material, but these are still well-constructed songs with quite personal lyrics and a broad base of instruments in support.