Running With The Wolves is the creation of Welsh quartet, The Effect, and is the band’s third EP to date. The outfit have developed both musically and lyrically since they began, most notably in the wider range of influences incorporated into their music, from indie to punk rock. The five tracks (the first two of which boast accompanying music videos) cover themes of self-acceptance, alcohol and drug use, and religion; this is an EP that holds a lot.
The title track opens the record, exploring a journey of self-discovery and fear, and although it opens a little slowly and thickly with slightly fuzzy, muffled riffs, once the percussion rips in, the tone is set. As the instrumental returns to a skeleton to accommodate for the vocals playing their part, they take the attention of the track, switching between low and gravelly, and high and fragile, before being supported again by the instrumental with the return of the chorus. Simplistic guitar fades the track out, and although at 4:43 it’s a slightly long single, it sets the release in good stead.
More electric, varying riffs open Souvenir, the first song to be released off the EP, and one that lyrically sums up the piece in its entirety. Clear vocals strike out over solid percussion, most obviously in the breakdown, where the strength and consistency of the vocal work is highlighted, before a crowd-participation worthy close to bring together the track to its abrupt finish.
Ghosts is the most delicate track off the release, and even when the percussion builds up over the simple guitar, it breaks and falls around the simplistic guitar and vocal blend. When the power is injected into the track, it’s in the form of the vocals making their own headway in the track, although they later become accompanied by a few, repeated electric riffs. The music ebbs down to return to its opening at the just over three minute close, making this a stand-out track in its unwavering control and minimalism.
In contrast, feedback at the start of These Hands Are Made For Hunting brings back an edge to the EP, with electric chords and foundations of percussion layering with almost desperate questioning, “is this really it? / Is this the outcome of my decisions?” Despite this song being the shortest off the release, it’s a personal favourite for the impact and insistence in the lyricism.
The final track, Fate, You Are My Prisoner, takes the claim for longest track on the album, and the slowest build up. The track is neatly split in two, a more acoustic opening, and a fuller close, with the title line remaining a clear focus through the lyrics, which for the majority take a backseat on this track. Closing chant, “bring me back please, bring me back to life”, winds up the just-under six minute finale, with the same solid mood which opened the EP.
The mixed influences are prominent throughout – no track is similar to the last. With this variation it would be easy to lose a definite sound, so their ability to retain that makes this release a triumph.