Harrisburg, PA quartet James Radio; Jake Leedy, Josh Freysinger, Aaron Justh and Jake Clewell began to take shape back in 2005, when Jake Leedy and Aaron Justh, who had played cello and baritone in high school decided they wanted to start a band that strayed away from the orchestra pit. So Leedy learned to play guitar and Justh the bass. After a while the two started seeking out like-minded musicians. They found them in saxophonist Josh Freysinger and drummer Jake Clewell.
The four musicians have since completed their first five-song EP, the not so sleepy Serotonin. The album opens with the roughed up and funky “Release” which is one hell of a strong way to open an album.
It begins with scant shreds of guitar, and then the slap bass, drums and sax all pour in at once to make a pretty rocking mixture. Add to that front man Jake Leedy’s scratchy ‘pack a day’ smoker vocals and “Release” lives up to its title. James Radio does a complete 180 of sorts on the upbeat acoustic folk jam “Damage Control.”
Then there is the jazz, funk, blues, rock and psych melting pot that is the aptly titled “Addiction” which plays out like a scary acid trip. Leedy again turns up the vocal rasp for “Addiction” sounding like a man who needs a fix. Then there is the soft and groovy sax fueled “Unknown Lines” and the short and sweet sax soaked jam “Rock & Roll” which closes out Serotonin.
Serotonin shows that James Radio isn’t afraid to take chances to push the limits of the sound boundaries they’ve chosen. There are times that you think they may be veering too far off course, but it is precisely then that they bring it back to center. In short Serotonin succeeds where many other jam bands fail, which is by either being too redundant or too diverse. James Radio gets it just right.
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