El Rey - February 16, 2011
"Hi, we're Radio Dept."
I think you have to admire a band like The Radio Dept. They arrived on the El Rey stage last Wednesday night with no pretense, no ego and occupying very little real estate. On first impression the band, comprised of members Elin Almered and Johan Duncanson, make for unlikely rock stars and have a decidedly blue collar approach to performance with a simple, no frills set up. Yet there they stood, in front of a sold out audience of eager fans packed as tight as sardines.
To be honest, I wasn't altogether that familiar with the band's output before checking them out on the current tour in support of the newly released singles compilation Passive Aggressive. Sure, I've heard one or two songs over the years, but I was surprised by how very indicative of the duo's overall sound those songs were. If there was one word that could be used to sum up the evening, it would have to be "consistent."
The Radio Dept.'s set was for the most part light and poppy. Certain songs ("David," "Never Follow Suit") elicited huge reactions from the crowd but I'm pretty sure Almered and Duncanson could've done about an hour of Steely Dan covers and the fans still would've gone nuts. The band's sound is highly influenced by new wave mainstays like New Order, Depeche Mode, et. al., but that's not to say it's derivative. A welcome element of the familiar permeated the night and the tunes' infectious rhythms and beats had me bouncing along. It's mood music to be sure and that mood is a good one.
I can't say I was among the swooning masses by night's end but there is a real charm and nostalgic appeal to The Radio Dept. that even someone as cynical as myself can't deny. Did I leave wanting more? Yeah, sure but I couldn't tell you what exactly I wanted more of. At the end of the day I felt I was more intrigued by the bits and pieces I heard early on and probably appreciate the band more in small, carefully portioned doses than a sustained block. Hey, I said you have to admire 'em, never said you had to love 'em
More by this writer:
Shonen Knife - Live - Sept. 14, 2010
School of Seven Bells - Interview
Emily Wells - Live - April 29, 2010
Best Coast - Crazy For You