Sometimes as a listener you don’t get the music. But that’s also the reason you continue listening. You’re compelled to understand it. I can’t say I get RUNAH’s music. But I loved trying to understand it. Her new EP Ghosts was released on Friday 12th October.
Generously coated with gothic imagery, RUNAH gives the impression that this isn’t just an EP, but it’s an experience. Short bursts of poetry and soundscapes introduce each of the four tracks. Folk influences are everywhere. Celtic drums, themes of the spirit and the body. It’s all designed to feel wild, untame. It unsettled me as a listener, but it also drew me in.
The title track ‘Ghosts’ sets the scene. A swaying track with timid, intimate guitar and sudden flashes of drums and piano. The song discusses the struggle of the mind trapped inside the body. Eponymous ghosts “creep under[neath my] skin” and “call” to RUNAH. It’s enigmatic, perhaps melodramatic, but it sets the scene for an artist who is unashamed of what she is.
The accompanying music video is bizarre, yet enchanting. RUNAH interprets these conflicting feelings with mysterious dance sections. Maybe in a battle of the physical form and the spiritual ghosts hide in the corner? I ended up having different ideas every time I watched it, so I suggest you watch it yourself to find your own answer.
‘Calling’ is a personal highlight. A drifting, curious track that wouldn’t be out of place in a mystery show. The I-IV progression has an air of tension, like breathing, which is released by a mellow chorus. The vocals have an ethereal quality. Lashings of reverb give space, and RUNAH exhibits excellent voice control. Her delivery is both delicate and powerful in one line. Very impressive.
‘Age’ is a must-listen for any songwriters out there. In elegant, minimalist terms RUNAH discusses the sad story of growing old, using an unnamed, aging woman as a muse. She discusses how age settles into her body, morphs it. She ends by pining, “While we were dreaming, she was waiting to go.” The song had flashes of Elbow and Nadine Shah. I loved it.
‘Demons’ is a swelling, rousing end to the EP, and RUNAH’s vocals are at their most dynamic. The duo of two harmonised vocalists somehow feel peaceful and distressed in the same breath. A symbolic way to end an album about both harmony, and the divergent chaos within harmony.
Oh, and RUNAH offers a sting-in-the-tail too. The last track ‘Repeat,’ a short four-line poem, reminds us about the cyclical nature of life. However, I could also see a smart pun asking you listen to it all over again. And you know, I think I will. I think you should too. At least once, just to say you went there. Because you don’t just listen to Ghosts. You go there.
RUNAH’s Ghosts EP is out now – available to purchase on iTunes here.