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 fu
cked 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.