The Radio Department shows the love with first album in 6 years

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 at 5:12 PM
The Radio Department shows the love with first album in 6 years by Britton Rozzelle

It’s been six whole years since the monumental “Clinging Onto A Scheme,” the full length from The Radio Dept, an album that’s so good it constantly makes me question the point of other albums existing.

Needless to say, I love this somewhat obscure Swedish band. I took a whole weekend to see what their newest release, “Running Out of Love,” out Oct. 21, had to offer.

“Running Out of Love” opens with a rhythmic first track, “Sloboda Narodu,” that serves as a solid reintroduction to the band. It’s reserved, it’s technically impressive and it feels welcoming — it’s an excellent fall song, if nothing else.

“Swedish Guns” sets off like a Disclosure track, featuring an echoing bassline and electronic hook throughout the introduction that recedes gracefully behind Johan Duncanson’s hushed vocals — a staple for the group. Unfortunately, the song shifts in pace around halfway through, becoming even more droning. It bored me at first listen, but it’s (at this point) grown on me.

The energy lost on “Swedish Guns” returns almost immediately with the following track, “We Got Game,” something that attaches itself to European EDM, much more so than anything from the band previously, while maintaining a uniqueness to it similar to recent works from New Order.

“Thieves of State” serves as a solid, Boards of Canadasounding transition into “Occupied,” an almost 8-minute-long track with poetic lyrics and a distinctly mid-’80s cyberpunk feeling. It’s not really anything new, and unfortunately not particularly interesting, even as it begins to ramp up.

Thankfully, “This Thing Was Bound To Happen” is a much more true-to-form song for the band, sounding like something from their last album. “Can’t Be Guilty” follows the trend of darkfeeling synths, but is more like a ballad than anything else and serves as the emotional core of the whole record.

“Committed To The Cause” will be a favorite, feeling almost as light and free as the best from their old albums, while mixing in some of their new, more electronic, sound. The song transforms throughout its runtime from a slower song of devotion to a jaunty loveaffair, led by a piano-based hook, and jazz drums.

The title track, “Running Out of Love,” is almost as moody and temperamental as the rest of the album, while being entirely instrumental. It has more heart and emotion in it than anything else present here, and is honestly refreshing. It’s interesting that it isn’t just the last song on the album, though, as it leads into “Teach Me To Forget,” an EDM inspired track that, while fun, feels slightly out of place here and never really picks up. At all.

Ultimately “Running Out of Love” is a solid album, but it’s not what I wanted from the band. The loss of several instrumentalists in the group and over-reliance on New Order-style synth obscure what could have been a shining example of modern dream-pop.

A lot of its songs just don’t go anywhere and as a fan it’s slightly frustrating. Nevertheless, some standout tracks include “This Was Bound to Happen” and “Committed to the Cause.”

Britton Rozzelle is the Executive Editor for The Spectator and he can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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