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Runaway – Broken Man review

For a duo with close links to DFA, there’s always been something reassuringly straightforward about Runaway’s music. Since their debut EP of typically off-kilter edits on friend Roy Dank’s Wurst imprint, they’ve got progressively more and more housey. For those who’ve heard Jacques Renault – the most high profile of the duo – DJ, this will come as little surprise; they seem more influenced by classic New York and New Jersey house than anything else.

Their biggest dancefloor hit, “Brooklyn Club Jam”, is a prime example of this. Blending FX-laden piano riffs with a menacing, big room backing, it sounded like Sound Factory era Vasquez or Twilo-pomp Tenaglia with a Rekids twist. “Broken Man” is similarly reverential, sounding not unlike the sort of organ-heavy house that used to emerge from the Big Apple on a weekly basis back in the 1990s – albeit with drums that sound more Salsoul than Strictly Rhythm.

Like the best US house records of old, it’s hooky and nagging in equal measure, building the action around a spiraling organ riff and a flickering, repetitive vocal sample (“broken man”). Even better, perhaps, is the accompanying ‘live’ version, which adds a killer acid B-line, some spooky loops and the sort of stripped-down beats that evoke thoughts of dark New York cellar clubs and freakish afterhours parties. It just feels more raw – something which gives the track a much more intense, late night vibe.

The package is rounded off by a solid remix by NYC nu disco don Brennan Green. He gives “Broken Man” a quick rub with his disco polish, adding some crunchy noises amongst the original’s twin riffs.

Review: Matt Anniss