Last year the Rundown Kreeps released Illside Village which is their sophomore release and follows 2015’s Breaking the Routine. The Rundown Kreeps are not a band that can be pigeon-holed or succinctly described as they draw from a wide range of influences but still develop a sound that is uniquely their own.
The opener “Me and Jay in Space” sets the table for what to expect on this album. It has blistering breakneck speed guitar solos and a driving rhythm that is flirtatiously ska. It’s in the next two songs “Seem to Care” and “I Won’t Go” that this love affair is fully realized. The first being a mid tempo jam with some uptempo interludes which will have you tapping your toes. “I Won’t Go” returns to the full speed and would fit on pretty much any 90’s era ska-core album, just with no horn section. This throwback ska styling can also be seen on “Glass and Regrets”.
This will they or won’t they affair with ska is widespread on this album as the Rundown Kreeps keep up a frantic pace and use the ska as a way to allow the listener to relax for a second before being tossed back into the fray. “Here nor There” is the perfect example of this, as it is sandwiched between “Pulling Pins” a borderline hardcore gem centered on a fantastic guitar riff and the pure pop punk “The Routine”. The use of “”Here nor There” in between gives the listener a brief respite with a slower ska skank and a bit of a 50’s vibe vocal delivery. Almost as if instead of taking a break at the bar, they took a break at a malt shop. The other example that I would be remiss to not mention is “Not a Clue” it carries the same 50’s style vocals overlaid on slow upstroke guitars that is totally skankable but, like the rest of the album, does not let you get too comfortable because of a crazy outro which kicks the album back into turbo.
Two standout tracks are “Silent Shots” and “You Belong’d to Me”. “Silent Shots” is a ridiculously steep dive on this roller-coaster of an album. It takes an already frenzied pace and kicks it up a notch in the way that would make Black Flag or Minor Threat proud. Its hardcore, its political, and it’s sure to open up a pit. While “You Belong’d to Me” is the exact opposite, an acoustical love song which displays the Rundown Kreeps ability to channel some vulnerability, made on a barren landscape that is in sharp contrast to the rest of the album.
Most of Illside Village sounds like horn-less Losing Streak era Less than Jake but playfully mixed with a Misfits style punk rockabilly and a hint of classic pop-punk sensibility. I did say at the beginning they defy a easy description.