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  Running In the Fog  
  Father / Daughter Records  
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Running in the Fog is an apt name for this band. The music is all made by one Amanda Harper, who programs groovy mid-tempo dance beats and ebbing synthesizers over which she layers her voice in a soulful wail, except that she is recorded hazily, often echoing and fuzzy. The overall effect seems to me like a band half-heard, as if lost in fog.

The EP kicks off with Sail. A groovy beat thumps along, keyboards chime, and Harper wails as if far away. The beat is really nice, and her distant vocals remind me, faintly, of Mary Pearson from High Places. Harper has a richer, more soulful voice, but something of the hazy delicateness of her singing here reminds me of Pearson.

Wild Ways is an outtake to a John Hughes movie her never made. Synth bass throbs and pulses as keyboards chime. Harper sings a tune of female empowerment, no doubt after the movie's heroine has fought with her "boyfriend" and has yet to understand the depth of Ducky's love for her... Or something. It even has some strings at the end! This really takes me back.

Desire is really lovely, the rhythm a scattered beat as she plays deep keyboards. Her voice is layered here, which is a nice effect. I think this is the standout track, and the label has it streaming on SoundCloud for your listening pleasure.

Harper gets her The xx on for Not Over, with a nice little hip-hop beat and her sultry singing. She adds in a clattering 1980s synth line too, which is cool.

Take Me Down reminds me of Peter Gabriel, with a breathy keyboard line and lots of shaking percussion. It has that "world music" feel to it.

And finally the EP wraps up with Silver, a long, slow song that features a background vocal riff that makes it seem very 1940s. It has an old jazz sort of vibe -- all big hair and smoky nightclubs. Only instead of a big band with horns, the music is a slow synth throb behind her sultry singing. It's a really good effect. The song, and the EP, sort of slides to a close.

Overall, this is pretty interesting, if a little lo-fi. Harper has some neat ideas.

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