REVIEW: Radical Dads - "Mega Rama"

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Radical Dads - Mega Rama
Release Date: June 6, 2011
Label: Uninhabitable Mansions

There's inspiration to be found all over Brooklyn-based Radical Dads first album Mega Rama from the Built to Spill tones of "No New Faces" to the abstract poetry of "New Age Dinosaur" and the joyful noise of "Harvest Artist." But perhaps the most inspiration is to be found by Radical Dads who, unlike most other artists out there, are just as comfortable in small moments as they are being awash in noise, who can slip from emotive to abstract to irreverent as easily as the album moves from track to track.

Given the band's pedigree, it's difficult to not be impressed right off the bat -- dual leads Robbie Guertin (who also plays drums and was in Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and Uninhabitable Mansions) and Lindsay Baker (who is all over the guitar) are an incomparably fun duo and Chris Diken (Guitar also from Uninhabitable Mansions) makes enough noise to have Sonic Youth watch their steps. While CYHSY and UM dabbled in the folk pop sides of things the kind of British wave tracks that Wes Anderson has been mining for his entire career, Radical Dads toss out the acoustic hocus pocus for deep crunchy riffs like the sawing opening of "Alondra Rainbow Under Attack" which builds into raucous frequencies while Robbie's booming drumming provides the rhythmic heartbeat.

The group plays so well together that you might have forgotten about Robbie's other two bands, and in many ways this outfit feels like a catharsis. It's retro. 1990s retro. Which means that it's not super hip yet and gives the Radical Dads plenty of room to play around. In an era where irony isn't a statement but a fashion, Radical Dads don't employ it for either, but bask in a time when guitars were king, being curt and emotional at the same time were celebrated, and when attitude was all about sound and not about style. The lineup itself (sans bassplayer) hearkens back to Sleater-Kinney and the three guitar lineup of the aforementioned Sonic Youth and even early White Stripes. If that's the inspiration behind it, what's radical (yeah I said it) is the joy within this record and how being inspired doesn't mean playing by the rules, but recreating them for yourself.

Stream it and Buy it here.


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