Review Summary: We get old and pray we don’t grow up, but that’s nothing that we choose
As we continue to grow older, we must embrace change. It’s simply part of life; whether it be marriage, becoming a father, or that house payment that’s due at the end of the month. Of course, it’s not always easy, but these difficult changes are often as rewarding as they are intimidating. Gruff punkers Red City Radio are aware of this, and they’ve crafted an album that can proudly be sung by just about anyone regardless of their current situation in life.
Although Red City Radio haven’t made a complete u-turn with their latest effort, there’s something about the heartfelt lyrics that suggest a new sense of maturity. They’re still the same band we’ve come to know and love, but this time they’ve mixed some truly impactful messages into these 10 stadium fillers. It seems fitting then, that their 3rd full length effort is named after the band. This album is everything the band has ever stood for, from their love of rock music to the boisterous gang vocals; yet the enormous sing-along choruses suggest they’re finally claiming the throne they rightfully deserve.
At first, longtime fans may be put off by the more accessible sound the band has adopted, but it’s not much of a change from their sophomore effort, Titles.
That album found the band inching away from their in-your-face punk approach, and they’ve simply taken the next step in that direction. However, don’t be fooled into believing Red City Radio has sold out. Even with the loss of a vocalist, they’re able to inject each moment with a level of energy that refuses to let up throughout the album’s runtime. Songs like the lead single ‘Rest Easy’ or ‘Electricity’ are so damn catchy you’ll have to use genuine restraint to keep yourself from tapping your feet or shouting along with the lyrics.
The band also haven't lost their sense of humor despite the slight shift in lyrical themes. Vocalist Garrett Dale sounds as convincing as ever as he shouts lines like “I just wanna get high and play my ***ing guitar” or “I can see the sun it’s out on the street, seems like it’s filled with assholes to me.” Sure, he sounds a bit more melodic than the past, but his voice still contains that hoarse quality that works wonders for these more aggressive lyrics. He truly sounds like he has a small frog lodged in the back of his throat at times, and that’s what makes him such an original and charming singer.
Red City Radio are no strangers to revision. Since their debut album, the members have overcome lineup changes and entered new chapters of their lives. This time, however, the band are writing more than just their typical booze-fueled punk anthems. The closing track is one of the most ambitious tracks they’ve ever written; not only is it their longest song to date, but it tackles the negative impact drug abuse can have on somebody’s life. It’s not that the band are against partying, quite the contrary actually –but they’re aware that it can go too far. We can’t stay young forever… and as we age we’re forced to look at the bigger picture. Despite this notion, the band hasn’t forgotten how to have a good time or craft a memorable rock-n-roll song. They’re simply embracing change, and they’re openly inviting you to be a part of the process with their latest batch of hard-hitting punk tunes. It might not surpass the band’s previous works in terms of musical ability, but it accomplishes something else entirely; it’s completely relatable.