EightAlbum | Radar Brothers By Stewart Mason
Dreamy L.A. vets' lushest, sharper LP yet.
From the sleeve art, which directly references Joni Mitchell's 1975 classic The Hissing of Summer Lawns, to its vinyl-and-download-only release, the eighth album by Radar Brothers portends an homage to the classic '70s sound of their Los Angeles hometown. But although the album is impeccably recorded in the classic L.A. studio-tan style, Eight is fundamentally not that different from the band's previous 18 years' worth of releases: singer-songwriter Jim Putnam's world-weary vocals sigh and murmur over a low-intensity mix of shoegazery guitars and occasional country tinges, as if Galaxie 500 had developed a newfound appreciation for Harvest-era Neil Young. What's different is that Eight features a richer sound, with the band recently expanding from a trio to a sextet with two keyboardists and a second guitarist. More importantly, where previous albums occasionally seemed to coast on the surface attractiveness of the band's signature sound, Eight features Putnam's best-yet set of tunes, with more memorable melodies and sharper lyrics. The atypically urgent throb of "Time Rolling By" and "Change College of Law," which unexpectedly dissolves into a Sonic Youth-like instrumental coda, are particularly strong.
|If We Were Banished|