Review Summary: Hyper modern alternative music for the lost and lonely.
There’s something immensely satisfying about Rad Horror’s entire makeup that is a tad elusive. They’re somewhat rooted in the past; an 80’s/90’s throwback to arena and guitar rock – yet they still could not sound more modern. On a social platform, they’re left-leaning millennials who regularly speak out on behalf of furthering equal rights. Their front man – Dylan Scott – bears a striking vocal resemblance to Brand New’s Jesse Lacey, and even writes the same kind of forlorn breakup poetry. They’re certainly a little bit of everything, but a social media post made by the band only a couple of weeks ago actually characterizes them quite succinctly: “hyper modern alternative music for the lost and lonely.” I couldn’t have said it better if I tried.
The Part Where Julia Dies
is the second installment in the Anti Teenage Sensation
EP series, coming on the heels of the aptly titled Part 1
. It’s a continuation of that sound and overall vibe, too. The album glows with the aura of late nights downtown – sex, alcohol, cigarettes – and waking up the next morning crushingly sober and alone. It also radiates hope and acceptance, like the massive sounding, riff-laden ‘Gay’ – an LGBTQ anthem of sorts. Through the ups and the downs, Rad Horror keep their music upbeat and entirely addictive.
Like Part 1
before it, the EP consists of just four tracks – but all are worth digesting. The aforementioned ‘Gay’ is a tremendous highlight, thriving on its thunderous beats and Nirvana-like electric riffs. It’s an exclamation of love and acceptance for all (“So don't you rain on my parade / My lover is gay / I'm happy for today”), and could easily be at the forefront of just about any march or movement. As critics and fans, we like to throw around adjectives like anthemic
, but ‘Gay’ truly fits the bill. ‘Mad at the World’ feels like this record’s answer to the previous EP’s ‘Dark Times’, successfully implementing a quiet-to-loud formula that distinctly recalls both Brand New and Nirvana. It’s not quite as memorable as ‘Dark Times’, but it is still lyrically aching and melodically smooth – and that’s enough.
Bookends ‘Nancy Sinatra’ and ‘Narration of a Lost Millennial’ are less immediate, favoring spaced out atmospheres over huge riffs and emphatic choruses, but they’re still entirely accessible and enjoyable in their own right. The former feels right at home in the band’s self-described “music for the lost and lonely”, recounting a feeling that we’ve all had at some point or another: “it’s four o’clock in the fucking morning…what the hell am I even doing？” The closer doesn’t lose any steam, packing an entire spectrum of emotions into a tidy three minute package that includes everything from spacey/ambient instrumentals to shouts/screams in bursts. It’s an intriguing glance into a possible future direction for the band.
The Part Where Julia Dies
is a worthy next chapter in Rad Horror’s progression. All of the songs here may not have the immediate distinguishability of Part 1
, but they’re nevertheless emotional, relevant, and infectious – a trio of qualities that makes for great music regardless of taste. Rad Horror will be a name to remember as they make some much needed headway in a pop-culture scene that has become saturated with far too much glitz and not nearly enough substance. With an LP hopefully on deck sometime in the near future, all we have to do is smile and wait for their inevitable breakthrough.