Review Summary: Red City Radio makes their bid for punk album of the year, writing some of the finest sing-alongs in punk rock since the likes of Hot Water Music and The Bouncing Souls.
It's been a while since a real punk band has emerged from nowhere. For that matter, it's been a while since a real punk album has been released -- with the exception of veterans like Bad Religion, Strung Out, and Lagwagon consistently releasing (for the most part) 'classic' punk records. Not since The Bouncing Souls' decade-old release "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" has anyone written such powerful, sing-along punk rock. That's why when Red City Radio came to light in 2009 with their debut EP To the Sons and Daughters of Woody Guthrie, punks everywhere came out of hiding to shout along with four hard-working Oklahoma boys. Two years later, the boys prove that Woody Guthrie was no fluke -- they don't miss a step with their debut full-length.
Paul Pendley, one of the voices behind Red City Radio's trademark scruffy vocals, said "we don't think there will be a huge sonic departure from our EP... big choruses, big hooks, but with some new surprises." I couldn't sum it up any better; if you have had the privilege of hearing the 5 track EP, chances are they had you shouting "we won't be silenced anymore!" at the top of your lungs. Red City Radio took a huge step away from the 'new punk' bands like VersaEmerge, A Day to Remember, and the always atrocious Asking Alexandria to create a sound that many of us believed had been lost in time forever.
The Dangers of Standing Still builds on every strength the band showed in their debut EP. Red City Radio have an uncanny ability to write songs that, if you love punk rock, you can't sit still to. Coming-of-age anthem and lead single Spinning in Circles is a Gateway Drug exemplifies the band's undeniably catchy choruses and irresistibly charming pop-punk sing-alongs. The song is an ode to being the young, stupid kids we all inevitably grow up to be, testifying that "we were young impressionable kids, we didn't know any better than this." Red City Radio have a universality in both their music and their lyrics that is incredibly passionate without being too preachy or condescending.
A song-by-song analysis would be both unnecessary and counter-productive. Red City Radio is not a band that aims to make one amazing song after another. Instead, they have succeeded in crafting one of the most unique sounds in punk rock today by imposing cigarette-soaked shouts on finely-tuned pop-punk anthems. My one complaint about The Dangers of Standing Still -- and it is a fastidious one at that -- is that the songs can seem to run together upon first listen. This is due largely in part to the fact that most (if not all) of the songs on the album are in the same key. However, Red City Radio has done an amazing job giving each song a distinct attitude, and as the songs begin to grow on you they each take a comfortable, memorable spot in your heart.
I could go on for hours about the amazing album that is The Dangers of Standing Still, but I can summarize their accomplishments in one bold statement: Red City Radio is one of the finest acts in punk rock (and I dare say in all of music) today. Their near-perfected mixture of honesty, energy, passion, and good old-fashioned rock and roll is unsurpassed by any band in the past decade. With the grit of real punk lingering in their pop-punk anthems and hooks that would make Chuck Ragan proud, Red City Radio have made a contentious bid for punk album of the year. And if these four Oklahoma boys don't have you screaming "JOOOOOONATHAN!" by the end of the album, you probably missed the point.
Two for Flinching
Spinning in Circles is a Gateway Drug
I'm Well, You're Poison
This Day Has Seen Better Bars ("JOOOOOONATHAN!")