The Radio Dept.
Lesser Matters


4.0
excellent

Review

by br3ad_man EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Swedish indie rock four piece, The Radio Dept. released their debut record in 2004. The group combine the vocal styles and catchy hooks of bands like The Strokes and Kings Of Leon with the atmospherics and keyboard sounds of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Arcade Fire, the sound of the group is basically delicate pop song writing with backgrounds of distorted white noise. Despite the background white noise, the songs of this album are pretty and sugary pop songs that are easy to enjoy. A mix of shoegaze, dream pop and lo-fi, this album would have been welcome in the early 90s alongside albums such as My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless", Slowdive's "Souvlaki" and Jesus and Mary Chain's "Psycocandy".

The debut album from this Swedish four-piece is a fine one indeed. The album begins with a short atmospheric intro called "Too Soon". After that, it's straight into the hardest rocking song of the album, "Where The Damage Isn't Already Done" (also the album's first single). This song is the most straight forward, with an infectious guitar riff and a driving drum beat. The album then slides into some shoegaze noisy songs that are much slower and quite hypnotic. One of the album's stronger points is the more upbeat "1995" that sounds more like The Strokes in love than anything else. Other highlights are all the way throughout the album and there isn't one song not to like.

One of the album's most interesting aspects is it's production. The production often masks the lyrics (along with the vocal styles on display) which is a shame because the album's lyrics are one of the best parts. It will take the listener a few listens to understand what is being said. Although this is one negative aspect of the production (and vocal styles), it's probable that the album would not be as strong without the production and singing. The fact that you can't understand the mumbled lyrics adds to the sound of the album. It's almost like the way The Strokes sing, but it has it's own charm to it. To those inexperienced with shoe gaze music, the production will sound dirty and unfinished but this is all part of the experience of the album and without this style of production, the album would almost certainly not be as strong.

Musically, the most interesting part of this album is the rhythm section and the vocals. The hushed vocals are equal parts My Bloody Valentine, The Strokes and Coldplay while the drumming features some nice "for the track" playing with interesting rhythms. The guitars are often creating walls of sound with occasional riffing while the keyboards are usually just making background walls with occasional riffs. The bass parts are the most interesting with some nice melodies cutting through the mix. This band, however are vocal based with all songs bar one ("Strange Things Will Happen") being sung by male vocals. The one song that features female vocals is an excellent track that would be right at home on a children's show such as "Sesame Street". Everything in the mix revolves around the vocals and they can be easily heard above all of the other instruments, unlike some shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine.

It's easy to tell from the band's album cover to their first video that this is a band who know that their sound is much more important than their image. This album hints at the band's potential and is one of the best releases of the year. It's an easy album to listen to and a hard one not to enjoy.

Pros
- Pretty sugary melodies
- Infinitely accessible
- An interesting mix of styles gives the band their own sound
- Relaxing

Cons
- Sometimes a bit samey
- Instrumental tracks are a bit boring
- Production may not appeal to everyone

Reccomended Songs
Where The Damage Isn't Already Done
1995
Strange Things Will Happen
Your Father

Reccomended For Fans Of:
Arcade Fire
Jesus and Mary Chain
My Bloody Valentine
Early Primal Scream
The Strokes



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zappa
December 31st 2004


355 Comments


I like the cover art. I'm not a huge fan of any of the bands you said this album resembles, but I don't know, I have the urge to give them a chance. One of few reviews I've read straight down in a long time. To the point, but descriptive. Thanks.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
December 31st 2004


2126 Comments


You like Slowdive right? There's a chance you'll like these guys. Thanks too.

Tangy zizzle
December 31st 2004


253 Comments


They're cool.

Happymeal
December 31st 2004


330 Comments


This looks like my thang. I'ma check them out.

Zmev
December 31st 2004


983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like it



Good review, I like you too

Dark Hero
January 1st 2005


160 Comments


They sound cool, i'll check em' out. Good review also.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 1st 2005


2126 Comments


Good to see you all checking them out. Tell me what you think.

manuscriptreplica
January 1st 2005


431 Comments


I liked that review, nice work

manuscriptreplica
January 1st 2005


431 Comments


I didn't like the songs though

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 1st 2005


2126 Comments


That's a shame

manuscriptreplica
January 1st 2005


431 Comments


I listened to Why Won't You Talk About It? and I love it, reminds me of Regurgitator I don't like the other one though

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 1st 2005


2126 Comments


Try some of the ones I reccomended :thumb:

manuscriptreplica
January 1st 2005


431 Comments


Alright

Little Man being Erased
January 1st 2005


87 Comments


Good review bread. Thanks for the links to mp3's and recommendations. I am now checking them out.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 1st 2005


2126 Comments


I'm positive you'd like them :thumb:

Your taste is insanely similar to one of my friends and he was the one who introduced me to these guys.

Dark Hero
January 1st 2005


160 Comments


I just checked out one of those songs, it's really really bad, sorry.

Zappa
January 1st 2005


355 Comments


I dig the samples you linked. I would be very interested in hearing the entire album.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 2nd 2005


2126 Comments


If you can see my stuff on Soulseek, feel free to grab the album off me.

Zmev
November 5th 2005


983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just listened to it today for the first time in awhile, this must be bumped and heard.

Wadlez
February 5th 2014


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

1st bump in 9 years.. Oh boy



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