This Radiation City article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall. Lead photo by Holly Andres
‘Synesthetica’ sees Radiation City whip out the bright production whilst taking influence from a wide range of ‘60s and ‘70s pop sources. However, it remains to be seen if any of these reinventions or changes in direction help to combat the clichés of your basic indiepop band.
‘Oil Show’ and ‘Juicy’, the first and second tracks respectively, show the band’s somewhat slinky side. ‘Juicy’ in particular is sprinkled in sensual, rhythmic raunchiness, but it might be the only time on the entirety of the album that Radiation City manage to take a fun, bold idea and run with it, with near-exciting results.
The following track, ‘Butter’, almost has a classic movie theme vibe, but said vibe just ends up getting trampled on by a cavalcade of uninteresting snyth swipes and sub-par goodtime ventures. That being said, most songs that follow ‘Butter’ have even less of a sense of individuality, ‘Butter’ at least has the willingness to be memorable, and one or two moments actually pay off, they’re just cancelled out by half-hearted attempts at modern stylishness.
Let’s give credit where it’s due; as a band, Radiation City are sounding tight. Their approach to their instrumentation is professional and on-point, the lack of risk in their playing is overtaken by occasional, nice-on-the-ears guitar solos and adept vocals.
As for the production, the bright, shiny overtones are quite necessary, but they lean too close to the ‘overproduced’ side of the spectrum, despite being a happy medium for the most part. It’s on the fence, but it’s facing the more unappealing side. Still, the song ‘Separate’ has a strange, old glossy sound, and if more songs on the album went down that route, it would sound a bit more unique and effective.
‘Futures’ is another example of Radiation City coming close to hitting home with their personality, but the track can so easily get sickly after a few listens, it’s that tacky hook that is actually unique in its own bizarre way, but it’s bound to get on a few nerves.
The performance aspect of ‘Synesthetica’ is solid, but it lacks everywhere else. It isn’t an album to completely ignore, but sit through it and you might just be spending time waiting for magic to happen.
‘Synesthetica’ is out now via Polyvinyl.
Want the latest music news, opinions and reviews?Subscribe to the GIGsoup newsletter today
Explore the latest music from the comfort of your own inbox