It’s been interesting to watch Run River North‘s career. From the explosion of Drinking from a Salt Pond to 2019’s Monsters Calling Home EPs and the singles throughout 2020, Run River North have been moving and evolving. While many of the songs on Creatures In Your Head have released as singles, the full length provides a narrative of where the band is now.
Monsters Calling Home, Vol 1 and Vol 2 felt like an explosion of energy and stress with the trio exploring and experimenting outside of their previous albums. Creatures In Your Head sounds like the end of that exploration and the start of a new journey. The album has a calm and direction that was missing from the MCH releases. The album starts with “Creatures In Your Head,” which isn’t a loud and direct reintroduction of the band, but a calmer and melodic ease in. The song is comforting and sheds existing weight with every verse.
When I was listening to Creatures In Your Head, I got the sense that the band isn’t so focused on meeting outside expectations anymore. Drinking from a Salt Pond is packed with audio elements almost every single moment. Creatures In Your Head happily dwells in minimalism. It allows melodies and verses to exist freely instead of moving to the next beat so quickly.
That isn’t to say that Run River North hasn’t removed any of the core elements that make their signature. In fact, everything that made the band so compelling is enhanced by the freedom of structure. Every song has its own essence, but there’s a cohesive voice throughout the album. Every song feels like a chapter in a story. The use of drum beats, synth, and samples can change the direct song style, but each song is still very much Run River North.
My favorite song has to be “Hummingbird.” The minimal intro that moves the vocals from Alex to Sally is perfection. The use of dual vocals in many of the songs adds a great variety to the presentation. Alex’s vocals ground every song while Sally pulls them into the sky. “Hummingbird” might be a new signature song for the band.
“Funhouse” is a little outside the box. It’s a direct indie rock mixed with some British rock elements song that really hits during the chorus. It might be the most fun track on the album in the instrumentals. I also enjoyed “Weight” as it attempts a slightly different instrumentation and style. It’s a bit synth pop and dives into electronic elements really well. The order of Creatures In Your Head is expertly set up. You get to experience a lot of different sides to the band.
Run River North’s Creatures In Your Head is something special. It comes after a lot of trials and experimentation. The freedom that exposes itself on the album is clear. The band have grown and found the voice and style that speaks to where they are now. Run River North have one of the best albums for 2021.