Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Album Review - The Radio Dept. - Pet Grief

If you failed to buy The Radio Dept's amazing debut album back in 2004 then shame on you. Go outside, don a Portugal shirt, shout 'Wayne Rooney's a tosser', take a kicking then come back in and download 'Where Damage Isn't Already Done'. Wait for atonement. Breath & carry on reading. If You did buy it then stay, and read on as I try to put into words the beauty of this second album which is set for its U.K. release late 2006 on Labrador.

Its well documented that this IGUN member is a very big fan of this genre of music, dubbed by NME in the early 90's as 'shoegazing', mention My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Chapterhouse and - I shit you not - early Boo Radleys records and you can get an idea of what was playing in my Toshiba single c.d. system when I was getting ready for school back in the day. A brief resurgence came later in the decade when My Vitriol added their heavier spin on things but its not until recently with the likes of The Radio Dept, Amusement Parks On Fire, Scarling & to a lesser extent Sigur Rios that shoegazing (Re-dubbed 'Nu-gazing' embarrassingly, again by NME) is beginning to stand on its own two feet.

The Radio Dept are adept at bringing that special Scandinavian gloss we know and love to their music - well crafted, beautiful indie pop tunes sent through muffled drum machines, cosmic keyboards and vocals that are so lazy and blissful they demand you kick back and enjoy the sunshine. Imagine Julian Casablancas whispering, on morphine, playing with The Beta Band on a boat coming out of Sweden and your with me. While keeping the roots of their highly successful debut firmly intact here we have a second album that’s pushing more toward the dark electro synth sound of the late 80's, with New Order and Depeche Mode making constant appearances through out the 12 tracks, this is evident straight away on first track 'It's Personal'. With its haunting Piano and dark synths we have a song here that sits well with those pioneering sounds that came from Depeche Mode and at a strong push Kraftwork.

Song 2 and album title track 'Pet Grief' could be mistaken for Gloria Estefan and her Miami sound machine for the first 20 seconds until the trademark, sweeping, almost sailing feeling that comes with Radio Dept's melodies kicks in. With its Joy Division baseline and high synths the track 'A Window' sounds like The Radio Dept. have recently been on holiday in Manchester, dipping their toes in Hooky and Steven Morris's ponds - Stockholm in Rusholme anyone ? You better believe it. But before you think this album is turning slowly into the grey Manchester skyline up pops 'Every Time' reassuring us that the sun always shines in Sweden and the Radio Dept still know how to capture it in its rarest, pure, pop form.

This is also evident on the brilliantly titled 'Sleeping In' - a song that deals with nothing more than what the title suggests, staying in bed, day dreaming and losing your headache. Come away from the hassle that the outside world has to offer and listen as this song transports you to a paradise island complete with buzzing birds and bustling trees. Second to last track 'Tell' is a cousin of Temptation and should have you New Order fans frothing at the mouth. If there is one thing this album is lacking then its the mesmerising first track 'Where Damage Isn't Already Done' off their debut album which was a contender for single of the year back in 2004, but then maybe were asking too much of A band to reproduce a song as good as that ?.

This is a band that have been and probably will remain underground, even with the release of this second album and new single, aptly titled 'The Worst Taste In Music', guaranteed to not make the top 50 of our so called pop charts which are already littered with drab, boring and repetitive solo artist's whining about lost loves. If you feel its all getting too much and you want some happiness in your life go and buy The Go! Team. If you want to be the coolest indie kid on the block, sat in your back garden with an ice cold Magners swaying peacefully on your Hammock then go and buy this album. Put some summer into it.

Chad

2 Comments:

Anonymous pgwp said...

I just got this album a couple of weeks ago. I think it's pretty great but I like Lesser Matters more. More variety on that album, I think.

Did you hear the Radio Dept. have three songs on the Marie Antoinette soundtrack later this year? I think they'll find a stronger following after that (deservedly so).

8:00 PM  
Anonymous no one that matters said...

i'm wildly curious why no reviewers mention the cure when discussing "It's Personal." I can't possibly be the only one hearing this connection.

11:22 PM  

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