Hailing from Frederick, MD, Radiolab is a duo comprised of Meghan Redding and Dane Di Perro who make music that takes elements from dream pop, electronica, and psychedelica that sound similar to one my favorite bands of all time Primal Scream (think vanishing point era not XTRMNTR or anything after that). Replace Bobby Gillespie’s voice with Meghan Redding’s and you should have a decent idea of what the band sounds like. Their self-titled album, which is the topic of conversation in this review, is the group’s latest effort after being together for about three years.
Despite the project’s expiration this album is a nice way to end as it has a batch of good if not memorable tunes. The 10-track album occasionally stumbles with more presentation than substance but I still found myself attracted enough to the album to keep on listening. A lot of the songs’ strongest parts are the drums and bass. The funky, dance oriented organic bass lines work great with the progressive, fun drum beats. For instance, on the first song “Conspiracies” the song is held down by these two elements as samples of different political conspiracies are played. Not to take anything away from Redding’s vocals which were nice but underutilized within the song. The second song “Quiet” suffers from minor production issues while the band hits one of their highpoints with “The Objectivist.” The breakdown in “The Objectivist” is pretty sweet. It combines a precise bass line, frantic drumming and pretty guitar melody. Different samples were spread out throughout the song but to be honest probably I would have enjoyed the song just as much listening to the music with the samples omitted. ”Thoughts” is a well put together song that is one of the most catchy on the album because of the vocal melody. I really enjoyed “Spider Kiss” because it put them in unfamiliar territory only relying Redding’s vocals (sounding a bit like a female version of Jim Morrison) and sparse instrumentation to get your attention. The song eventually picks up but they do it in a more experimental way that didn't feel contrived.
Things get a bit more chill with “All Things” which utilizes spoken vocals over an atmospheric yet percussive heavy background. One of Redding’s best vocal performances and one of the best songs was “I Keep Losing Heart” which could have been the single to this album. We close with “Existential” which seemed to encapsulate a lot of the genres they were covering on this album. After listening to the album my only real critique would be the flow. It felt a bit unbalanced at times and I had a hard time feeling the consistency the whole way through. Beside this minor inconvenience the songs are good enough to stand on their own and displaying a surplus of talent coming from both Redding and Di Perro.
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