THE RADIO DEPT. —
“Running Out of Love”
THE GOOD: Swedish indie pop outfit the Radio Dept. comes back with its fourth full-length album and first in half a decade.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Lyrically, this album gets political (although it’s of course more Euro-centric), with the guys calmly and politely calling for a revolution. Tracks such as “Swedish Guns” and “Committed To the Cause” combine their angry rhetoric with funk-infused, even dreamy backdrops.
Musically, “Love” comes off like a melding of classic Madchester and ’90s dance (Happy Mondays and Saint Etienne anybody?), twee pop (Belle and Sebastian are tucked away in some of those melodies) and the best beat-heavy stuff from the 2000s thus far (kicking LCD Soundsystem and Royksopp grooves).
It’s a lethal and infectious combination, a rhythmic yet delicate affair (we’re not talking about jackhammer beats here) that will recall everything from the Stone Roses to Daft Punk. “Love” ends up being a feel-good record, even though it’s not really supposed to be. Ah, but that’s OK.
BUY IT?: Definitely.
GROUPLOVE — “Big Mess”
THE GOOD: Los Angeles indie pop outfit Grouplove gives us an infectious albeit predictable third.
THE BAD: “Big Mess” leaves me torn. The listener in me embraces the hooks and harmonies. My more critical side remains unimpressed. Grouplove has created more safe “radio friendly” modern rock that would blend perfectly with some Young the Giant, Walk the Moon, Saint Motel or, as it does on this very page, Two Door Cinema Club.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Don’t over-think matters, and tracks such as the hyper-sensitive “Enlighten Me” and the super-bouncy “Good Morning” pull you in immediately. You can tell the band is going for the ultimate party anthem on “Cannonball.” Grungy throwback “Heart of Mine” noisily sways back and forth. “Don’t Stop Making It Happen” is slick and seamless. See? Nothing completely disagreeable here. However, there’s nothing that distinct either. Still, the band is a hell of a lot better than Foster the People (but is that really a complement?).
BUY IT?: Your choice.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB — “Gameshow”
THE GOOD: Irish indie pop group Two Door Cinema Club cranks out its third.
THE BAD: Same as they ever were? Perhaps.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Gameshow” finds the guys teaming up with producer Jacknife Lee (Elle King, Silversun Pick-Ups, Snow Patrol) just as they did on their last outing, 2012’s “Beacon.” And while the end results aren’t disagreeable, they’re hardly “outside the norm.”
Tracks like “Ordinary” and “Good Morning” (different than the aforementioned Grouplove tune) are punchy, glossy modern rockers in which synths and guitars mesh without clashing and we’re hit with enough hooks and riffs to keep us at least half-interested (not exactly high praise). The record never completely trips itself up (although the down-tempo “Invincible” can get cloying at times).
Still, Two Door Cinema Club is simply giving us another dose of what it’s already done twice before. Long-time fans may be satisfied, but past detractors won’t be converted. Maybe the band will shake things up next time (before we COMPLETELY lose interest).
BUY IT?: Whatever.