Straylight Run is made up of sibling frontpeople John and Michelle Nolan who both sing, write, and play guitar and piano. They are joined by bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Will Noon. There's no doubting the intelligent design of their gloriously adventurous off-kilter pop and the existential underpinnings of their lyrics.Asked about "Soon We'll Be Living in the Future," the emotionally charged first single off Straylight Run's forthcoming album, The Needles The Space, John confides: "I'm really happy with how that song turned out because I was finally able to put a finger on a feeling I have about living and dying. It's a frustrating and terrifying experience living with the full knowledge that at any point in any day you could die, and what would your life have meant? Everything you're doing - what does it actually mean in the context of your life as a whole? It's something I probably think about too much. It's not a good idea to be too thoughtful about such things."
"The Miracle That Never Came," meanwhile, is perhaps an even more distinctive example of Straylight's brand of thinking-man's pop. It flies out of the starting gate without warning, galloping along on Shaun's insistent bass line, Will's four-four beat and Michelle's fevered vocal, the unexpected ring of glockenspiel spurring it further. Just as the see-sawing melody has lodged itself intractably in your cerebellum, "Miracle" gives way to a swooning, two-tempo waltz bridge that finds Michelle singing, "Oh, look what I've done here/ Let these thoughts creep in/ Let them seep right in." Another standout, the lovely, accordion-laced "The Words We Say," begins with "We'll wait in line for most our lives."Says John of Straylight Run's evolving sound, which he concedes is difficult to pigeonhole: "I love pop music; I love hearing a well-written pop song. And I like a lot of music that's experimental and weird. I'm always looking for ways to take a pop song and rearrange it into something interesting and fresh and original." Michelle remarks: "We're very lucky because our fans seem to be open to whatever we do. That gives us the freedom to explore any idea we have."