The Radio Dept.

Running Out of Love

Labrador

Dec 12, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Swedish outfit The Radio Dept. explores some darker spaces on their first studio album since 2010's Clinging to a Scheme, with their irrepressible pop gifts maintaining a buoyancy that doesn't disrupt the tenor of the lyrics.  

Key tracks observe troubling elements of life in Sweden. Though "We Got Game" is driven by a danceable punch, the lyrics reveal the song to be anything but fluff. "There's a choice to be made/We never used to blindly disobey/Now make some noise, never fade/Retrace the steps of millions before us," Johan Duncanson sings over moody streaks of melody, looking toward police protection of racists and of retaliation against protesters.

Over synths that drift from fuzzed-out chord stabs to a dreamy warmth, "Swedish Guns" turns its sights on the arms industry of the band's homeland: "If you want something done/Get Swedish guns/Take care of someone/Get Swedish guns."

"Can't Be Guilty" lightens the mood. A lovely mesh of acoustic guitar and keyboard follows Duncanson as he reasons a simple state of grace: "I'm fast asleep and can't be guilty." For the upbeat and modestly epic "Sloboda Narodu," drums and guitar crash together repeatedly behind Duncanson's vocals and crescendo toward a climax that never comes; instead, the movement peaks just as it reaches the edge and ebbs instead.

While Running Out of Love may contain a bit less fizz than its predecessor, it's supplanted by evidence of the band's artistic growth over the past six years. In the closing "Teach Me to Forget," Duncanson seems to be at a loss for how to get past his missteps. "I've been strung out since the turn of the century," he sings, "but regrettably it's so clear to me." However, as the beat thumps along like a heartbeat refusing to quit, it suggests an optimism between the lines. (www.theradiodept.com)

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