The Radio Dept.
Clinging to a Scheme


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rationalist USER (50 Reviews)
May 8th, 2010 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Fuzz-pop" never sounded so good.

As many oboists will inform you, they’re seen by many of their orchestra-centered colleagues as perfectionists. If not simply for the habit of chiseling away at their reeds until the beholder is satisfied with their duck’s sound, perhaps it is the eerily sterile character of these players which contribute to the stereotype. Sure, the conductor may thank them for their sonic adjustment when performances arrive, but their fellow instrumentalists simply don’t get them. Their efforts are geared towards perfection, not pretense. And in the same manner, so is Clinging To A Scheme.

Okay, so maybe the numerous, unexplained release date changes are signs of the band's smug attitude, and perhaps they took it too far when their album cover showed a man smoking a certain controlled substance. (They didn’t.) But hey, their calculated nature needed to be fucked up a bit, didn’t it? With tracks like the jaunty and sterile “Heaven’s On Fire,” it’s obvious that their sound really needs it. Striking with math-like precision yet playing like synthpop is one of The Radio Dept.'s most notable characteristics, and with it come their fiercely repetitive elements. Yet, it's an interesting combination to say the least, regardless of how odd that sounds. Said single is a spry electric anthem, sure to give you that sugary sort of post-Halloween feeling. And on the album opener, “Domestic Scene,” continual atmospherics pull the listener into the band’s grandeur. And it is here where one of The Radio Dept.’s most distinctive features comes into play: their incredible ability at fence-sitting.

With roots in both guitar-driven shoegaze and dreamy synthpop, The Radio Dept. come across as a rather languid group, a fact which is propelled by the band’s refusal to make one trait more prominent than the other. Similarly, The Radio Dept. wrap their jaunty tunes in a morose package and vice versa. Playing ethereal melodies beside chiptune synth-work proves a delicious combination for this indie-pop group, but for many, the sounds provided will prove to be almost too relaxed. However, the complex sonic textures that The Radio Department craft are fascinating rather than excruciating, as evidenced by “You Stopped Making Sense.” Here, every melodious element of The Radio Dept.’s sound floats, and tracks like these make room for the theory that the more lulling and trippy the band’s sound, the better. Instead of their almost contrived attempts at chipper indie-pop, the band excel most when focusing on tranquility. And fortunately they use their peaceful melodies frequently, thus successfully becoming a band who’s just too easy to fall in love with. Clinging To A Scheme won’t impress everyone, but it’s still a delectable and eclectic take on pop.



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user ratings (139)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Kiran EMERITUS (3.5)
The Radio Dept return, as dreamy and frustratingly unassuming as ever....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rationalist
May 8th 2010


880 Comments


Hi y'all.

alachlahol
May 8th 2010


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

when did you start listening to good music dude?

Dryden
May 8th 2010


13276 Comments


what is he smoking on the cover

alachlahol
May 8th 2010


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the biggest black and tan ever

Dryden
May 8th 2010


13276 Comments


oh man

Rationalist
May 8th 2010


880 Comments


Yeah, it's a guy from a Vietnam-era flick taking shots of pot through a shotgun barrel. Potheads rejoice!

Rationalist
May 8th 2010


880 Comments


and alachlahol... since when haven't i listened to good music?

Bitchfork
May 8th 2010


7584 Comments


Their efforts are geared towards perfection, not pretense. And in the same manner, so is Clinging To A Scheme.

Okay, so maybe the numerous, unexplained release date changes are signs of pretense; and perhaps they took it too far when their album cover showed a man smoking a certain controlled substance. (They didn’t.)


replace the 2nd pretense with something else.

Clinging To A Scheme won’t impress everyone, but it’s a delectable and eclectic take on pop.

please add still after it's.

But hey, their calculated nature needed to be fucked up a bit, didn’t it? With tracks like the jaunty and sterile “Heaven’s On Fire,” it’s obvious that their sound really needs it. Striking with math-like precision yet playing like synthpop is an obvious achievement on the part of The Radio Dept, and with it comes their fiercely repetitive elements.

This sounds really contradictory. And you forgot a period after Dept.

Rationalist
May 8th 2010


880 Comments


Agreed and will fix.

Rationalist
May 8th 2010


880 Comments


Fixed.

Bitchfork
May 8th 2010


7584 Comments


I skimmed through it and it looks better. However these are mistakes you shouldn't be making on your like 70th review (including all your alts).

joshuatree
Emeritus
May 9th 2010


3742 Comments


i remembered when we were watching archive footage of vietnam soldiers in some class and this exact image was shown that's in the cover art so yeah csb

Bitchfork
May 9th 2010


7584 Comments


i can just see D.A.R.E. saying that if you smoke pot you'll have to go and die in the second vietnamese war.

alachlahol
May 9th 2010


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i would've expected this album to be rated a bit higher on average

Bitchfork
May 9th 2010


7584 Comments


All of the decideldly "happy" tracks suck, and this album is really predictable/ a little forgettable

alachlahol
May 9th 2010


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

weird, i enjoyed this just as much as Pet Grief

Bitchfork
May 9th 2010


7584 Comments


Pet Grief < this.

Bitchfork
May 9th 2010


7584 Comments


Though i testify that the more fuzzy tracks are 4 worthy

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2010


15082 Comments


"Though it's a stupid and hipsterized term," uh yeah great summary?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2010


15082 Comments


"As many oboists will inform you, they’re seen by many of their orchestra-centered colleagues that they’re seen as perfectionists"


guessing this review is a joke



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