Home > TheRest > Radio 4 – Gotham

Radio 4 – Gotham

Gern Blandsten Records, 2002

I vaguely knew a little bit about Radio 4 based on what I had heard what they were about, and that was post-punk.  Somewhere I had read that they were a good modern substitution for Gang of 4 and that “Gotham” was their best record, so I made a mental note to be sure and check them out.  Sure enough, the very record in question has appeared a few times in dollar bins in various parts of the country, so I was eager to check them out to see if they were worth the quarters.  As it turns out, my research proved fruitful.

Although the dull, dual-colored cover wouldn’t show it, Radio 4 bring a lot of aggressive burst.  The first few songs illustrate that as “Our Town” chugs in with a heavy guitar riff and a jarring chorus.  What Radio 4 does a little differently than their previous post-punk counterparts is that they utilize some electronics to fill in the gaps.  “Start a Fire” and “Eyes Wide Open” follow and refuse to let up in their tempo and catchiness.  The band actually doesn’t let up in the slightest until a swinging “Calling All Enthusiasts”, which is five tracks in and probably much needed after the early rush.

The first song that truly stands out is “Save Your City”, if only because its unwavering guitar riffs charge the entire song without pausing for a breath.  Anthony Roman’s vocals are merely a supportive assistant to keep the rush going, so at a little more than three minutes this song steps in just long enough to rile you up before departing.  Unfortunately, it departs into some kind of spacey song that steps far, far from what one had just heard from the first half dozen songs.  “Speaking in Codes” is a total misstep, so unfortunately the band didn’t capitalize on the excellent catapulted projectile of vigor that “Save Your City” launched.  Bands make strange decisions sometimes.  They do pick up with the excellent “Certain Tragedy” and thankfully finish the record with the sound that they are known for.

Have a listen to a few Radio 4 tunes on Last.fm.

There are a few choice songs on this record that I would highly recommend one to check out, but Radio 4 mostly dish out a good rock record that sounds fine in its entirety but doesn’t really deliver a song that will bowl one over.  Still, it’s a great record and should be gotten for cheap by anyone that sees it.  Radio 4 are still together and touring after a decade of work, and with a new record on the way according to their website, one can look forward to something from them if they liked this record.  At least Radio 4 is channeling the right bands for their music, which can’t be said for those who rely a little too heavily on the nineties to get their rock n roll going.  I know, I sound bitter, but maybe I can wash some of that away as I look forward to these guys coming to town sometime soon.

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