Radar State “Strays”
Radar State are a new band and this is their debut release, but they do come with a bit of heritage. It consists of members from indie/punk/emo bands such as The Get Up Kids, The Anniversary and The Architects. To be honest they’re bands we had heard of but never really followed. So we were intrigued to see what Radar State would deliver.
It’s the title track “Strays” which opens this album and it’s certainly a corker. It’s a catchy and bouncy pop punk number which will immediately catch your attention. Perhaps not surprisingly, songs like “Anywhere” have a real American commercial punk rock feel to them. But, importantly, there’s enough grit to stop them falling in to the overly clean feel of many pop/punk bands.
Indeed, there’s a far more authentic feel to songs like “What’s A Rebel” and “Self Hurt Guru” compared to the avalanche of punk/pop we saw in the early 90’s. Tracks like “Damn The Man” and “Defender” suggest that they actually listened to the likes of The Clash rather than just looking at the album sleeve and copying the image. There’s still a sense that they know a hit when they hear it. The great pop rock sound of “Summer Of Sundays” and “Making Me Feel” are built for mass radio play. But there’s nothing wrong with that in our book.
What’s great is the way the band are able to switch their sound but still sound genuine. They go from the commercial and catchy “Artificial Love” and “Victims Of Fashion” to the punk pop of “Good Catholic”. Whilst “Leather Dye” suggests a band that would be more than happy to slug it out with some ‘harder’ sounding punk rockers. Then it all ends with the surprisingly mature sound of “Play For The Game”.
When we listened to this album it made us fondly reminisce about bands like American Hi-Fi and The Crash Modern. Bands who were able to produce great rock songs but with enough of a pop flavour to make you think that surely they were destined for greater and bigger things. They’re a band who are probably in need of the emergence of some sort of a scene (as the members experienced, to some extent, with their previous outfits) to promote their sound. Otherwise it could be a hard, but worthy, fight to make sure they get the attention they deserve. In the meantime, they can certainly rely on our support as this is a great punk/pop record.