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RNDM: Ghost Riding

Running on random.

A part-time project involving Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, his regular drummer pal Richard Stuverud and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur, RNDM’s first album contained few surprises, but second time around, they’ve shaken things up.

Ament has never been one to settle for the expected bassline and Arthur is used to accompanying himself with a range of effects pedals, and they play up to their individual strengths before seeing how it fits together.

It’s a leap of faith founded on instinct and the result is an album of unusual, challenging but mainly rewarding song arrangements held together by Arthur’s conventional sense of melody and a joint determination to make it work.

And by and large it does. The grungy Tears For Fears of the opening Stumbling Down, the robotic beats that grate against the fluid melodies of Got To Survive and Trouble, and the trippy title track that toys with visions of childhood.

RNDM are playing with comfort zones but they’re clever enough to bring you down gently with the contemplative Dream Your Life Away, leaving you feeling curious to see where it goes next.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.