No Value is the debut recording from Auckland five-piece Long Distance Runner, and the 7” and digital release sound nothing like I’d expected — which is no bad thing.
My expectations were based on the fact that Long Distance Runner feature members from a few other great Auckland bands, including blistering hardcore/screamo outfit Parents, and psychedelic genre-smashers sere. I thought maybe some kind of acid-fired hardcore hybrid was on the cards with Long Distance Runner. But that’s definitely not the case.
In the main, the six songs on No Value showcase a razor-sharp post-hardcore band, although there’s certainly an unorthodox edge to some of Long Distance Runner’s songs. The band take offbeat swerves on some tracks, and deal in supersonic intensity on others. But mostly, Long Distance Runnerinject driving melodies with distortion while delivering heart-pounding riffs.
The high-speed arrangements of No Value’s title track and “I Fall” remind me of the uber-aggressive bursts of noise that Parents deal in. Although, to be clear, Long Distance Runner aren’t Parents by another name. The band add different textures and dynamics into the mix on No Value, and while tracks like “A Savage Place”, “No Mask” and “No More Regrets” are harsh and heavy, and pack plenty of rhythmic punch, they also feature twists and turns that’d do brainbox/brain-smashing punks like Fugazi, Refused, or At The Drive In proud.
No Value is a great opening gambit from Long Distance Runner. It’s got plenty of grinding tension and breakneck riffs — and what fan of strident music doesn’t love that? But No Value also juxtaposes belligerent passages with unpredictable shifts in tempo and direction, which leaves the question of where Long Distance Runner could be heading creatively wide open.
That unpredictability means Long Distance Runner aren’t restricted to any set genre, and those moments where they unleash unexpected elements on No Value are the best. No question, No Value is a great debut. But, even better, it shows a lot of promise for Long Distance Runner’s artistic future.