Belfast based folk outfit Runabay first came to fruition at the beginning of last year. Since then, they’ve taken to the stage at a number of high profile venues around their hometown, including Mandela Hall and The Limelight. They’ve also appeared on BBC 2 NI and had their material showcased by BBC Radio Ulster. However, the six piece ensemble have ultimately spent the last eighteen months working towards the completion of their recently released record, The June EP.

Opening with “Sign”, the five track compilation sails off upon pleasant instrumentation that warms on the way to a cool, clear melody. The vocals become particularly passionate after the first verse, while the percussion pounds out purposefully. The speed is steady yet serene, allowing for a relaxing rhythm before it all reaches an enthusiastic end.

A hushed acoustic riff unfolds across stirring strings ahead of a bustling beat as “Sequences” takes over. There’s an optimistic undertone to the sound, despite the solemn style that stays at the centre. The instrumentation is consistently moving, resulting in an emotional ballad. “Moon Turns Blue” follows by building into vivid vocals which resound through light and meaningful musical motifs. Salvos of striking cymbals have a powerful effect, lending the whole thing a tremendous sense of depth and importance.

The subtle start of “Feels Like Home” sets the scene for a fervent melody, behind which the instrumentation keeps keen. The momentum remains rapid as the constant evolution of the guitars and drums ensures it’s an active and exciting undertaking from opening to close. Sombre strings and sedate guitars lead into the hushed harmony of “June” afterwards. The tempo rises very gradually as the piece progresses in the direction of a cutting climax. It serves as a spirited finale that carries a great deal of poignancy.

Runabay’s first full foray into the world of music making is an innocuous affair that’s unlikely to incur any serious aversion or animosity. The tranquil tone and placid persuasion of its soft and simple songs mean that it’s sure to find favour with a large listenership. You can find The June EP on iTunes now.

Runabay: The June EP review
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