Current indie rock is pretty much stuck in a state of reconstructing the early- to mid-90’s. At the moment it’s almost difficult to believe that the 90’s was about more than dream-pop and shoegaze. Bands like Pixies, Jane’s Addiction, Sonic Youth, Pavement and countless others used a much more direct approach to songwriting, defining indie of that era and continued to do so ever since. Guess we’re preaching to the choir, but the point is that we are in desperate need of bands like Radical Dads. They use the stylistic approach of the aforementioned bands as the foundation of Rapid Reality but builds on it with relentless “no bullshit” riffs.
It’s true that the Brooklyn trio’s 2011 debut Mega Rama was at times coated in swirling effects, leaning towards shoegaze, but on Rapid Reality they chose a much more direct approach by using Mega Rama’s short, to-the-point stand-out “Recklessness” as the yardstick. On album opener “Mountain Town” Lindsay Baker’s shouts her clean aggressive vocals over “Where is my mind?”-style guitars, showing a more dynamic and amplified side then hitherto. “Pink Flag” that bares the title of Wire’s pivotal debut and “Rapid Reality” further intensify their adrenaline-rocking ambition. With intense guitar riffs paving way for Baker’s punchy yet melodic vocals, the title track is one of the most direct, stomach-hitting indie rock pieces we’ve heard all year.
Rapid Reality is in no aspect just a noise-rock album, nor does it feel very “punk”. Instead it’s constructed around clever straight-to-the-point melodies, no matter the pulse the band is choosing to play in. This self-assured approach is most vividly manifested by the almost seven-minute epic of “Shackleton”. It works as the perfect midway between the albums riffy-er side and it’s delicate ballads of “Hi Desert” and “Stampede”. But even the slower paced tracks are approached with direct melodies centered around clear and conspicuous guitar play.
Rapid Reality is a consistent craft of orderly chaos. It’s fun, unpredictable, but most importantly, it’s an unpretentious and welcomed contrast to the dreamy state of current indie rock. In only two albums, Radical Dads have become a brilliant and ambitious band that can churn-out uncomplicated and straightforward indie rock with timeless riffs. There’s not a single bad cut here, which makes the record a true indie rock highlight. It’s just too bad so few people and critiques recognize it.
Stream the whole album over at Radical Dads Bandcamp.
- Now Hear This!: Radical Dads – ‘Rapid Reality’ (album premiere) (Feature) (popmatters.com)
- Dead Stars released a new EP and video, playing record release show with Radical Dads (brooklynvegan.com)
- Radical Dads: Rapid Reality (Capsule Reviews) (popmatters.com)