Children 18:3 – On the Run


C 18:3Past Children 18:3 albums openly challenged the listener to categorize their sound. Is it punk, is it hard rock/alternative, is it plain old-fashioned rock? Regardless of how you label their sound, it is filled with driving guitars, catchy rhythms, and great vocals by both LeeMarie and David. On the Run is no different in that regard although there are hints that their sound may be getting a bit less diverse than in the past.

Despite only having now three albums under their belt, Children 18:3 have a fairly long history, dating back to 1999 when they were a 5-piece ska band without LeeMarie. Fast forward a few years and some band members leaving, brothers David and Seth added LeeMarie on bass and switched to punk rock. A few years later, Children 18:3 got the attention of Brandon Ebel at Tooth and Nail and their debut, self-titled album came out in February of 2008. Following a couple years of relentless touring and festivals, even supporting Norma Jean for a stretch, their second album Rain’s a Comin’ came out in 2010.

For On the Run, Children 18:3 brought in Travis Wyrick (POD, Pillar, Disciple) to handle production and he has left a big rock, stadium rock sound imprinted on the album. For my tastes, I’m left with the feeling that the album falls into the overproduced category, but then again I like more of a live sound, something that sounds a little dirty, a little rough. I will add that Children 18:3 sound excellent live, so maybe I’m looking for more of that type of sound. All of this aside, the production is very well done and the sound is true to what I’ve come to expect from Children 18:3, at least half of it is…

I’m left feeling this this review could be split into two as there seem to be two different styles going on with On the Run. The difference is subtle but the more I listen, the more apparent it becomes. Songs like “Moment to Moment, “Bandits”, “What About Justice”, “Why are You Afraid of the Dark”, “Nowhere to Run”, “All in Your Head”, and “Drifter” all sound like a natural progression from earlier albums, while “We’ll Never Say Goodbye”, “Jenny”, “Always on the Run”, “I Tried to Do the Right Thing”, and “Holding On” all have a softer, nicer, less unnerving quality to them than I expected. “Always on the Run” is, for lack of a better term, a very nice ballad where David and LeeMarie trade off verses. LeeMarie’s voice on this track sound very much like a young Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s, and really surprised me. Of course, I prefer her rougher, gritty, nearly screaming vocals that are abundant on the other albums, especially the self-titled one, but her voice is excellent and she is able to convey a lot of emotion without resorting to the screaming. Not counting the ballad, what I’ve labeled the softer songs on this album sound very much like a variation on pop-punk. Children18:3 do add their own twist however, and the point-counterpoint vocals of David and LeeMarie work incredibly well on the harder and softer songs. For me, the song where Travis Wyrick’s influence is most apparent is “Holding On” where one of the guitar riffs sounds straight off POD’s song “Alive”.

“Why Are You Afraid of the Dark” is a classic Children 18:3 song to me. It manages to be somewhat creepy and yet happy and cheerful at the same time, has some great vocals from both David and LeeMarie and some great drum fills from Seth. Having Christian from Blindside add vocals to this song is a perfect touch as his vocal style nicely complements David’s. This song embodies what I like about Children 18:3, all members contribute key parts to all the songs – a true family affair. Yes, On the Run does have some softer moments than previous albums but will serve to be an excellent introduction to the band and has the potential to bring in new fans who may not have fully appreciated some of their older sound if that was their only exposure.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

Track Listing:
1.Moment To Moment
3.We’ll Never Say Goodbye
4.What About Justice?
6. Always On The Run
7.I Tried To Do The Right Thing
8.Holding On
9.Why Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
10.Nowhere To Run
11.All In Your Head

Band Members:
David Hostetter – Guitar, vocals
Seth Hostetter – Drums
LeeMarie Hostetter – Bass,vocals

Record Label: Tooth and Nail/EMI, June 2012

Places I Don’t Want To Go EP, 2004 [independent]
Songs of Desperation EP, 2006 [independent]
Children 18:3, 2008 [Tooth & Nail]
Rain’s A Comin’, 2010 [Tooth & Nail]
On The Run, 2012 [Tooth & Nail]

Weblinks: WebsiteFacebook / Myspace  / Twitter

Buy the album here:
 First Paradox 
 Nordic Mission

Video below for “We’ll Never Say Goodbye”

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