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Radio 4 - Stealing of a Nation


Review: Jack Foley

FIVE-piece New York outfit, Radio 4, were placed at the forefront of the disco-punk movement, alongside The Rapture, following the release of their well-received Gotham! album, which marked them out as a band who were more than capable of mixing intelligent lyrics with a musical style you could easily get down to.

The follow-up, Stealing of a Nation, continues the trend, building on the successes of Gotham!, while also upping the funk and politics to eye-catching effect.

Hence, while the band wears its political heart on its sleeve (from the title of the album alone), it never forgets that it's also supposed to be delivering a good time.

It isn't heavy-handed preaching, rather a good-time party-filler that also has something important to say.

Oh, and comparisons with the likes of The Clash and Duran Duran are equally relevant, as are those with another rock luminary, INXS, given that Anthony Roman's vocal style is extremely reminiscent of Michael Hutchence, during catchy tracks such as No Reaction and State of Alert.

The album, which was produced by Max Heyes (Doves, Primal Scream), and recorded in the band's hometown of NY, kicks off with the former NME single of the week, Party Crashers, which capably sets the standard for what to expect.

That is to say, plenty of bass line-driven, synthesizer-regulated disco-punk tracks, with edgy guitars and busy beats.

Anyone who is beginning to tire of the New York sound might find that this doesn't really offer much of a variation, but even if some tracks feel a little laboured, or familiar, there is heaps to admire.

The funky, electro-laden Fra Type 1&2, for instance, is a genuinely catchy number, with a cracking chorus, while another former single, Absolute Affirmation, is a real slice of cheeky 80s nostalgia, with elements of everyone from INXS, The Cure and The Strokes.

The politics come to the fore in tracks such as Nation, which slows things down a little, and includes heartfelt lyrics such as 'I have grave expectations, for this strange situation... for the stealing of our nation'.

Yet, given the current political climate and trend for passing comment whenever possible, you cannot begrudge Radio 4 their say, especially since many of the points they raise seem valid.

The important thing, however, is that you do tune in!

Track listing:
1. Party Crashers
2. Transmission
3. State Of Alert
4. Fra Type 1 & 2
5. Death Of American Radio
6. Nation
7. No Reaction
8. Absolute Affirmation
9. (Give Me All Your) Money
10. Shake The Foundation
11. Dismiss The Sound
12. Coming Up Empty

Disc: 2
1. Party Crashers (Ashley Beedle's Vocal Mix)
2. Party Crashers (Headman Remix)
3. Absolute Affirmation (Tom Middleton Remix)
4. Absolute Affirmation (Si Begg Remix)

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