Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Radio Dept. – Never Follow Suit EP (Labrador Records)

‘Never Follow Suit’ is the third single to be taken off Swedish pop act The Radio Dept’s third studio album ‘Clinging to a Scheme’. The single is being released as a five track EP that contains a couple of new songs and a remix of the title track rather than just a standalone song, which is a pleasure to see.

The EP opens with ‘The One’, a mass of trip hop beats crossed with dub pianos and mouth organs; initially sounding like Massive Attack until the song develops and takes on a more Lee Scratch Perry kind of edge. It isn’t until track two that we hear ‘Never Follow Suit’; running smoothly on from the previous song the slow groove of the bass and drums is immediately apparent and very dominant. All the decoration on the song which includes more off beat dub pianos and various other cheap Casio keyboard sounding instruments are very forgettable. In fact, take away the bass line and it becomes extremely similar to ‘The One’, and if anything a little more dull. As you get further through the EP there are improvements though; ‘Stay Off Route’ has yet another very catchy bass line throughout, with a touch more power helped along by the uplifting guitar sound and addition of synth strings, while ‘On Your Side’ features a simple yet striking acoustic guitar part that once again takes the EP up a notch. Unfortunately both of these tracks are undeveloped though; they get going and then stop in an instant becoming more like little ditties than fully accomplished songs. The EP is closed with the ‘Never Swallow Fruit Dub’ of the title track remixed by Pistol Disco, which milks that bassline for seven minutes to the point that you will be unable to get it out of your head for some time. It does nothing more for me than the original version of the song, once again it becomes very generic and monotonous with nothing there to keep any form of interest.

It is such a shame that the two tracks in the middle of this EP are both so underdeveloped. If they had been written as full songs I believe they would have been stand-out tracks and may have saved the record from becoming so tedious. But as it stands they do nothing more than spark a tiny bit of excitement in what is an otherwise mind-numbing release. 3/10

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