Review Summary: Go Radio begin closing the distance between themselves and mediocrity. Almost there!1 of 1 thought this review was well written
The band’s cover of “Rolling In The Deep” for Punk Goes Pop 4 was a sign. I was yet to realise, but it was the first step in Go Radio transitioning from an intelligent pop-punk band into a run-of-the-mill adult-alternative one. The band clearly aimed for a radio-friendly sound with Close The Distance but, despite this, they’re no closer to the mainstream than they were before. You can only hope their hearts were in the music.
One of the best things about 2011’s Lucky Street (and Mayday Parade’s A Lesson In Romantics for that matter) was Jason Lancaster’s lyricism and vocal delivery. He could always be relied upon to be emotive, poignant and, if need be, aggressive, but on Close The Distance he seldom varies his tone. “Go To Hell” should bring out the anger within him but the poppy instrumental arrangement dulls Lancaster down. The only moment where he reaches his true potential is on piano ballad and album standout “What If You Don’t”. In its bridge he exposes his vulnerability, singing, “Out of tune and out of key, it seems there’s no song here for me, no not for me.” Lyrically, the band tries to repeat Lucky Street's fantastic mix of imagery, metaphor and storytelling, but their attempts here, although solid, are dotted with cliché and faux-passion.
Thankfully, Go Radio haven’t forgotten how to write great hooks. “Lost And Found” and “Close The Distance” are back-to-back examples of soaring, victorious choruses, while the piano-riff in "Over Me" and the whoa-ohs of "Collide" will remain in your head for days. “Baltimore” and “The Ending” also revolve around their triumphant refrains but yield less memorable results, while “Things I Don’t See” is a potential highlight that is only soured by its chorus' suspicious similarity to “Stays Four The Same” by The Ready Set. Sadly, the album ends on a low note; “Hear Me Out” has a sound more reminiscent of the band's earlier material but lacks a sense of direction and shape.
Ultimately, you're only likely to return to CTD for the catchiness of its individual tracks. Go Radio have fully committed to their new radio-oriented sound in that they’ve made a singles album – pick your favourites and listen away. There are some captivating songs on here. That alone equates to a good album, but sadly Close The Distance isn’t consistent or ambitious enough to be anything more than that.