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Adult Books: Running from the Blows *

Album Notes

Los Angeles post-punk trio Adult Books deliver their long-awaited debut, Running from the Blows. Led by singer/guitarist Nick Winfrey, the band first emerged in 2012 with a self-titled EP on L.A. indie Lolipop Records, introducing a tuneful style that inserted Smiths-ian melancholia into buoyant punk tunes with an uptempo Ramones-ian bark. The release managed to put them on various radars and eventually became Lolipop's highest-selling title. Four years elapsed before Winfrey, bassist Daniel Quintanilla, and drummer M.M. Sina managed to produce their first full-length, and they've emerged from that gap a bit darker and leaner. There's still plenty of bounce throughout the 11 tracks, and their sense of wit remains intact on songs like "Suburban Girlfriend" and "Nihilism for Beginners," but their detached post-punk iciness has become the more dominant trait. A sense of isolation pervades tracks like "Casual Wrecks" and "Firewalking," with their chorused guitar leads and synth-aided landscapes resembling something from New Order. The vocals are alternately delivered in a sort of monotone chant ("I Don't Think I Can Stay"), a more passionate garage-punk shout ("Lobby Talks"), and occasionally that percussive Joey Ramone bark ("Silver Lake Goths"), sometimes even in the same song. The production, as a whole, is more robust than on their first effort and the arrangements more dynamic and detailed. Running from the Blows is definitely the work of a more mature band, and even if Adult Books seem a bit stylistically divided at times, this is a very solid debut. ~ Timothy Monger


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