On his 2017 debut, Vanishing Point, NYC-based musician Ian Sims, who writes and records as Run Child Run, blended looped vocals and smart grooves into a narcotic musical brew. On his follow-up, Peace Process—which he’s currently funding for vinyl release—Sims continues to hone his mastery of mantra-like vocal phrasing and cerebral percussion. But this time, his meditative music serves a more explicit purpose: to help him in his quest for resolution and self-understanding in the fallout of a relationship.
On Peace Process, Sims balances acoustic and digital instrumentation with finesse and—despite its contemplative and mournful tone—a good deal of playful experimentation. Throughout the album, he channels various artists central to the late ‘00s indie universe: standout track “Reflection,” for instance, brings to mind the ecstatic drumming-round-the-campfire maximalism of Here We Go Magic and early Animal Collective. Later, the gently clattering percussion that forms the backbone of “Monsoon” echoes James Blake’s debut, and “Prayer” embraces a use of empty sonic space that recalls the focused minimalism of the xx.
Peace Process draws strength from its ability to lose itself in repetition. And while Sims’s elegant coo serves as a poignant vehicle for his fraught narratives, he’s most effective when he chants phrases like, “Beauty’s the reflection of your self love” (“Reflection”) or the titular lyric in “Must I” ad infinitum, until his voice melds into his compositions. It’s unclear whether Sims has found the resolution he seeks, but that’s mostly besides the point: as he makes clear in this smart album, the process of finding peace is ongoing.