Review Summary: A promising debut from a young, straight-edge Texan.
Solo acts don't usually don a moniker implying otherwise. I remember finding out The Rocket Summer was the brainchild of just one guy and being surprised: all that from one person? Pretty much the same story with PlayRadioPlay!. Dan Hunter is a pretty talented guy, for someone so young - he hadn't even graduated high school when he was signed with Island/Stolen Transmission.
Ok, so, he's young, he's signed, and he writes electronic love songs. Now where to go? With his debut EP "The Frequency", we get a little taste of things to come. And for what it's worth, it's not that bad.
Opening The Frequency is "Bad Cops Bad Charities". Dan's voice is probably at one of its best in this song, but the lyrics leave something to be desired. The chorus is pretty solid, but repeated multiple times, it gets a little tiring. Also, be forewarned: if you are not one for high-pitched male vocals and a fair amount of whining, this may not be your cup of tea. I like the vocals, but it's not everybody's favorite thing. All in all, not a bad way to start out the EP, but it could've definately been done better. (2.5/5)
Lyrically, the next song is bounds above the first. "Compliment Each Other Like Colors" starts off with a nearly a cappella beginning, a tirade of clever, cute lyrics. The song then breaks in with a drum beat and the rest of the instruments. Not much repetition in this song, which is definately a good thing. Fresh lyrics come out of every minute, juxtaposed with electronic beats that almost make you feel outer-spacey. Good lyrics, good instrumentals, and good vocals. (4/5)
A funny thing about the next song, "Confines Of Gravity", is that I don't really remember it when writing this review. It's not a bad song, but it's also not a good song. I'm not really sure what it's about, or if the line "I wanna be an astronaut and get high" is literal...or has a deeper meaning that I'm just missing. The lyrics definately leave a lot to be desired, and to repeat them doesn't make them any better. The vocals are nice, but nothing special, and the instrumentals are the same all the way through. (1.5/5)
"At This Particular Moment In Time" is an ode to Dan's girlfriend - more particularly, that he knows he's younger, and he loves her enough to realize this may be a problem when she heads off to college. But he wants her to remember that while other guys may have "a career plan" but "when you think about me, your heart'll stop". If you listen to a lot of PlayRadioPlay!, you realize Dan writes a lot of songs about his girlfriend, or at least references her in many songs, but this is certainly one of his most endearing love songs. It's sweetly sung with original lyrics that let you know that he believes every word he sings. (4.5/5)
A cleverly titled song, "Even Fairy Tale Characters Would Be Jealous" makes me wonder. Should they be jealous of the adorable lyrics in this song? Of the cute voice in which they're sung? The honesty of the words? Or should they be jealous that all of this is crammed into the second shortest song of the EP (only longer than the shortest song by one second), coming in at two minutes and forty-nine seconds? Coming right after a song about his girlfriend, you might think this one is sort of a continuation of the previous song. But, surprisingly, it's not. Starting off his song by narrating his tale about going to rehab his sophmore year, Dan then jumps into describing his girlfriend as "his high". (He has now been straight-edge for a while.) Turns out this is what those fairy tales should be jealous of. Duely noted. (5/5)
Covers are rarely equal to, or even more rarely above, their originals. But PlayRadioPlay!'s take on "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers falls in the "equal to" range. It's a daunting thing, to take on such a well-known song and make it your own, but this is just what Dan has done. He took the strong rock song and made it a strong electric song. For those who know the song, this may seem odd, but actually, it works. It's the nice thing about this song: often, covers sound too similar to the original, but PlayRadioPlay! completely made it his own. But if you are an avid fan of the strong rock that is the original, or if you don't like electric takes on rock, this probably isn't your thing. (3/5)