Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Julie Ruin: "Run Fast" (album review)

Kathleen Hanna marches to nobody's drum but her own.  She's been a punk rock goddess with the Riot Grrl trailblazers Bikini Kill, she's been an analog dance diva with Le Tigre, and she's delivered 4-track spoken word pieces as Julie Ruin.

She's now resurrected The Julie Ruin project, with a completely different sound on the new album Run Fast.

Punk rock is at the core of everything Kathleen Hanna does.  That's apparent from the get-go as she screams her way through "Oh Come On".  In this case, however, it's set to a very restrained arrangement.

The punk ethos comes through loud and clear on "Party City", a delightfully raw number.  The loose bass line of "Right Home" shimmies like The Clash.

Hanna's albums have often been manifestos more than musical efforts.  Her most political moment on Run Fast comes in the form of the genre-bashing "Kids In NY".

The electronic elements of Le Tigre are not missing either.  "Ha Ha Ha" is tweaking and propulsive, while "Cookie Road" sounds reminiscent of The Damned after they added the synths.

Over the years, there's been a pop sensibility that pries it's way into Hanna's music every once in a while.  The light and airy "Goodnight Goodbye" is one example.  Even more obvious is the fuzzy, hook-heavy power pop of "Stop Stop".

The musical styles of Run Fast may be a bit all over the place, but that allows Hanna to satisfy all of her fans, whether you latched onto her for Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, or the original Julie Ruin.

Best tracks: "Ha Ha Ha", "Cookie Road"

Track listing for Run Fast:
  • Oh Come On
  • Ha Ha Ha
  • Just My Kind
  • Party City
  • Cookie Road
  • Lookout
  • Right Home
  • Kids In NY
  • Goodnight Goodbye
  • South Coast Plaza
  • Girls Like Us
  • Stop Stop
  • Run Fast

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