As if I needed another motive to move to Sweden, The Radio Dept. pop up out of nowhere (and by nowhere I mean they’ve been around since 1995 yet somehow have slid under my radar this entire time?!) and increase my love for the Nordics tenfold. The Stockholm based trio encompass elements of shoegaze, pop, and electronic that result in beautifully rich melodies. They released their third album, Clinging to a Scheme in April and ever since then the nearly flawless pop album has garnered proper praise from nearly every critic (this one included) who listen to the versatile record.
Clinging to a Scheme’s melodious first track “Domestic Scene”, begins with a mid tempo beat as Johan Duncanson’s sweet tenor blends right alongside the crisp guitar stylings of Martin Carlberg. “Domestic Scene” is shorter than the majority of the other songs, but serves as a nice introduction to the mixed variety of sounds heard on the album. The record’s tracks move from electro-pop’s “Heaven’s on Fire” to a more shoegaze, downtempo beat heard on tracks, like number seven’s, “Memory Loss”. Each song is made unique though by The Radio Dept. thanks to Duncanson’s distinctive voice and their penchant for crisp guitar picking and choice keyboard melodies.
One of the most interesting songs, which also displays the group’s verstality is the drum heavy “David”. The tune starts off with an awesome beat provided via drum machine that mixes both steady, heavy rhythms with a fast, light progression that brings to mind the classic sounds of early hip-hop. “David” also throws in a tinkling keyboard melody and what sounds to be a quick harp sample. Duncanson utlizes a more talk style on the song that works well since the song’s main focus is the amazing beat being produced. The Radio Dept. ends Clinging to a Scheme with the soft “You Stopped Making Sense”, a tune that grabs the listener’s ear due to the beautifully remorseful refarin of “I want to come closer”. The instrumetnals supplied from the keyboard, guitar, and drum machine are slowly brought in, creating a lush sound by the song’s middle. This richessness then cresecdoes and allows each instrument time to fade out, until all that is left is the song’s lovely keyboard refrain. “You Stopped Making Sense” serves as a perfect endnote to the well-thought out and produced album.
The Radio Dept. are currently on tour (dates provided below) promoting the November 9th release of their double-disc collection, Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010. Given how solid their whole albums are, its a safe bet to say that these Swedes know a thing or two about producing a great pop single.
By: Stephanie Glass
11-30 Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory
12-01 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
12-04 Stockholm, Sweden – Strand
12-05 London, England – Scala
12-15-16 Lund, Sweden – Mejeriet
02-01 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
02-02 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
02-03 New York, NY – Webster Hall
02-04 Boston, MA – Middle East Downstairs
02-05 Montreal, Quebec – Petit Campus
02-07 Toronto, Ontario – Lee’s Palace
02-08 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
02-09 Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
02-12 Seattle, WA – Crocodile Café
02-13 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
02-15 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
02-16 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
02-19 Mexico City, Mexico – Teatro de la Ciudad