Rad Horror
Anti Teenage Sensation - Part 1


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
August 8th, 2018 | 84 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grunge rock in 2018 has never sounded this good.

Rad Horror is a band with roots dug deep in the 90s. In an interview with LA Weekly, frontman Dylan Jackson Scott fondly recalled the decade in which he grew up, absorbing as much of the culture as possible before becoming a teenager at the turn of the millennium. He name-checked everything from Smashing Pumpkins to I Know What You Did Last Summer, the latter of which serves as something of a namesake for the group: “I always felt these movies were super super-rad.” That’s right, he named his band after a bunch of teen slasher films. If that alone was your only impression of Scott, you might think twice about bothering with this band. But what if you were to also learn that it sounds like the most vibrant, under-the-lights version of Nevermind meets Science Fiction ? Would you change your tune, ever so slightly?

Anti Teenage Sensation, Pt. 1 is a massive debut for these alt-rockers, who’ve barely even scratched the surface of creating music with six total songs to their name (this four-track release, and two additional singles). The EP is spearheaded by ‘Teenage Love’, an aching, star-lit ode to a disintegrated relationship: “I don't get high much anymore / You only call me lonely, looking to score…I would tell you to go to hell, but I'm too god damn proud.” Scott spends a good deal of the extended play offering reflective lyrics; ones that feel poignantly depressing but offer a sliver of hope. This is very much a front-and-center guitar album, though, as they drive the music while ringing out resplendently between Scott’s emotional, dramatic pauses. The drums are a bit more calculated, cementing Anti Teenage Sensation in a state of equilibrium – floating between buoyant atmospheres and an earthy sense of realism.

They’re the most raucous on ‘Stay Out’, the second song here and the closest they’ve come to an all-out rocker, save for perhaps the separate, Nirvana-reminiscent single ‘Gay.’ The guitars are ramped up even more, and Dylan’s vocals fringe on all-out screams when he passionately shouts “I wanna feel a little sunshine, but I never get out” during the bridge sections. They’re not reinventing the wheel, or even doing anything all that remarkable from an instrumental standpoint, but the pure energy they play with tidies up any loose, scattered ends. That seems to be the case across the board with Rad Horror, a band that has absorbed an entire array of influences, and now simply wants to put their own spin on things and rock out.

The highlight of the EP comes on ‘Dark Times’, which feels like Rad Horror’s early claim to fame. The chorus, “I’m hanging on the outside of my mind, looking for the bright side of dark times”, is anthemic and swelling, capable of packing arenas. Scott channels Brand New levels of glorious, quiet-to-loud eruptions, all the while making the same sort of analogies that band tended to during the peak of their songwriting: “There's smoke in the garden, she seems so peculiar now to me / But I’m like a sergeant, searching for soldiers overseas.” The whole thing glows with late 90’s/early 2000’s nostalgia, and it’s the kind of headliner song that could catapult Rad Horror to stardom sooner rather than later.

Closing track ‘Only When You’re Lonely’ brings the group’s softer side to the surface again, mirroring the reflective tone of ‘Teenage Love’ with a mid-tempo, bittersweet chorus, “Let somebody else take your feet off the ground…The voice in my head sings me to bed every night.” The song rocks itself gently to-and-fro until the chorus arrives, where the guitars again come crashing in – dazzling and magnificent – without overshadowing Scott’s thoughtful ruminations. The most sobering moment may be when he delivers the line, “When you're all out of cash and all out of love / You're all out of beer / You're stoned and you're fucked…and scared to be alone.” By the end of the song, little utterances of ba ba la dee da subtly raise the spirits, and it becomes all too easy to feel like you’re caught in some sort of pop-infused updraft. ‘Only When You’re Lonely’ is the ending that this EP deserves – it’s gorgeous, affecting, and flies by the seat of its pants.

Anti Teenage Sensation, Pt. 1 sounds like the start of something huge. Every time that a new, young band comes out and plays actual guitars instead of leaning entirely on synths and electronic effects, critics tend to crown them as the saviors of rock almost as an involuntary reflex. It’s funny, then, that a band with no intention of becoming the next anything may actually be the ones to fucking do it. While their influences are recognizable, Rad Horror don’t wear them on their sleeves. They’re out to make music that’s charged, no matter what form that may arrive in. On their debut EP, they’re sounding emotionally charged, highly energetic, and nostalgic all at the same time. Wherever they go from here matters little, because talent this obvious has a way of shining through.




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user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
August 8th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is a superb EP. Fans of Nirvana, Brand New, and/or late 90s-to-early 2000s rock should absolutely check this out.

In addition, here are the other two songs they've written (which do not appear on this EP):

"Gay":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMeQE_BqBMA

"Benzos and Cigarettes"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxC_JKRjBVg

Digging: Exit North - Book of Romance and Dust

onionbubs
August 8th 2018


10270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yea this finally got a review. got into dark times right after the jesse lacey allegations broke out cos someone said the singer in this band sounded a lot like him. this ep doesnt really sound much like bn, but its still sick as hell

Digging: Alkaline Trio - Is This Thing Cursed?

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 8th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Agreed, I think the vocalist sounds like Brand New more than the actual music, which I'd compare to a poppier Nirvana. I've been hooked from the moment I heard this.

onionbubs
August 8th 2018


10270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea i can't wait for more music from these guys this release is so sick



gotta say tho their single cover for dark times and stay out are both super cool so how tf did they give this such a shit album cover lol

SomeGuyDude
August 8th 2018


373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck yes, thanks for this review. Been on the hunt for an album like this.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 8th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I actually don't mind this cover. Something about it describes this band: free, careless, passionate. I do also like the artwork for the singles though.

onionbubs
August 8th 2018


10270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea dark times especially looked so sick. im really interested in where this band goes. also props for being from jersey haha

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 8th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Jersey and Philly produce some of the best artists

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2018


24270 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

looks dope tbh

Poxy
August 9th 2018


157 Comments


This is pretty nice, thanks for bringing it to my attention man

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 9th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

If you guys like the embedded track and/or the whole EP, check the singles I linked to my first comment as well. They're every bit as good.

ButtBoy
August 9th 2018


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

BN + Nirvana? So is this like Daisy at all?

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 9th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

More like a poppier Nirvana with BN-styled vocals...I know what I just said sounds a bit like Daisy, but it doesn't have the screaming or Modest Mouse accents that album featured heavily. This is geared more towards the mainstream as well, in terms of production.

ButtBoy
August 9th 2018


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gotchya. I'll check this today for sure, sounds cool

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 9th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cool. Curious what you'll think. They're not the next BN or Nirvana obviously, but they're still immensely enjoyable.

ButtBoy
August 9th 2018


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this. Each song seems to have a totally different feel. Teenage Love gives me strong Deja vibes actually, and then with Stay Out I can start to see the Nirvana comparison. Also, there are moments where this dude sounds freeeakishly similar to Jesse.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 9th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah that'll be the inevitable draw for a lot of people. I just love the balance between Nirvana grunge, BN rock, and more of a lighthearted mainstream appeal.

ButtBoy
August 9th 2018


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wish it were longer tho, 4 songs is really light

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 9th 2018


28782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I downloaded these as well and turned it into a 6-song EP for myself:

"Gay":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMeQE_BqBMA

"Benzos and Cigarettes"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxC_JKRjBVg

ButtBoy
August 9th 2018


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I was listening to those on spotify as well. 6-song EP is a better way to think of it haha



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