With the wealth of lovingly crafted emo to come out over the past few years, it is easy to see how some bands can get lost in the fray. Perhaps the best of those bands would be Prawn, a melodic outfit from Ridgewood, NJ, who were responsible for 2014’s most underrated album, Kingfisher. The album was so underexposed that of the two mainstream reviews I could find of the record, one of them admitted it was the result of accidentally stumbling across the record. And yet, as that reviewer agreed, Kingfisher is fantastic.

The nautically-tinged record showed surprising versatility, as well as poignant emotionality. Emo is a genre that thrives when bands put their hearts on their sleeves and few do it more sincerely than Prawn. Tracks like ‘Scud Running’ and ‘Prolonged Exposure’ should have been huge songs in a fair world, carrying this great album and great band to great renown.

But now in the year 2017, Prawn is headed for another low-key release with Run. The 11-track collection sees the band stripping back its expansive sound from Kingfisher for something a little rawer. Recorded in an old converted church in New Jersey, the album features a narrow range of instrumentation and sometimes this works to the band’s benefit. There is no attempt to hide anything here; Prawn has quite simply put together some killer tracks. The shimmery guitars on opening track ‘Hunter’ or on ‘North Lynx’ are intoxicating, as are the lithe basslines on a song like ‘Snake Oil Salesman’.

Prawn was also smart to get the track ‘Rooftops’ out there ahead of Run’s release. A catchy whistle, killer “oh oh oh”s and a ripping guitar solo highlight this band’s more ambitious aims. By stripping back from Kingfisher and still managing to create such an epic sounding record, Prawn has proven they can be one of the most exhilarating rock bands around when they are firing on all cylinders.

The best song, however, may be the more downtempo ‘Short Stem’. All of Prawn’s most appealing qualities synthesize in this one track. The guitars convey an extraordinary amount of emotion all on their lonesome, but Clark’s distant vocals caused goosebumps for me: “Nail in the coffin/ Never thought I’d run it so far/ I’m just repeating/ Saying love songs I sing in the dark.” It reads well, but I promise the beauty of Clark’s evocative vocals truly put ‘Short Stem’ on another level.

There are no bad songs on Run. In fact, I don’t know if Prawn has made a bad song yet. But I will say that while I appreciated the band’s more stripped-down sound, I did miss the occasional flairs of trumpets and the other bold instrumentation choices. That being said, the melodic style remains and vocalist Tony Clark’s vocal performances are as great as ever.

According to Clark, his lyrics largely examine the difficulty of forming meaningful connections with those around you. Fortunately for Clark and the rest of Prawn, there is nothing inaccessible about Run. The record is, quite simply, 43 minutes of ear candy; some of it can be melancholy ear candy, mind you, but ear candy nonetheless. Give Prawn the shot they deserve.