Let's say you're watching Grey's Anatomy. Imagine a scene where Meredith Grey is sitting quietly at the break room table staring at the swirling foam in her latte while she's debating whether to make eye babies with either McDreamy or McSteamy while the fresh blood from a multiple gunshot victim dries on her scrubs. Now, what kind of song is playing? Do you hear crashing drums, power chords, beat boxing? Nope. What you hear probably sounds an awful lot like the new release from Charleston's Slow Runner, Shiv!.
See, Slow Runner, featuring singer-songwriter-keyboardist Michael Flynn, multi-intrumentalist Josh Kaler, and a bunch of Lowcounty compardres, play day-dreamy piano pop (Think Ben Folds, Coldplay) about unrequited love, emotionally fragile people, and suburban angst, the kind of stuff that fits perfectly on Grey's. (Slow Runner's music has been featured on both Grey's and One Tree Hill.) And what you get is nearly always heart-on-your-sleeve soft rock, the kind that Steely Dan might make today if they were just starting out and Donald Fagen wasn't such a smartass. Only the two instrumentals, the seemingly toss-offed "Sounds Crazy But It Just Might Work," and the somber "To Anyone In the World Who Cares," which gets pleasantly lost in tape loop ambience, deviate from the band's earnest approach. That said, the stand out tracks on Shiv! are placed at the beginning of the disc. The first, the guitar-driven "Lower Your Standards," could almost be put on an alt-country mix alongside Wilco and Drive-By Truckers, while the second, "The Varsity Drag," is a tale about popping pills, passed-out girls, and drunken driving. Quite simply, it's the best song about life in young suburbia that Ben Folds never wrote. However, it's the third track, "Deep End," which stands the best chance of ending up as the song most likely to end up in a music montague on chick friendly primetime television show.
Co-written by Jay Clifford, formerly of Jump, Little Children, the song captures all the emotions — apprehension, longing, terror, joy — that one might feel during the tentative beginnings of new romance. It's quite a thrill. —Chris Haire (www.slowrunnermusic.com)
Slow Runner perform at the Music Farm on Fri. Nov. 2.