Red City Radio

Paradise

Written by: PP on 26/12/2020 16:28:02

"Oh no, I don't recognize myself anymore" sings Garrett Dale on "Baby Of The Year". Well you know what? You're not alone - sincerely, old Red City Radio fans. Indeed, listening to "The Dangers Of Standing Still" or even "Titles" right before delving into fourth album "Paradise", you'll be hard pressed to guess they're by the same band, save for Dale's well-recognizable melodic brawl.

That, of course, isn't a surprise to anyone who listened to the self-titled album five years ago or the EPs since then. Punk rock is a distant afterthought, having been replaced by mid-tempo melodic rock instead. It's all super polished, all edges ironed out, leaving behind a predictable, almost calculated expression that seems more designed to strike Dale's ego than to deliver honesty-laden, rough-around-the-edges melodies that we all fell in love with back in the day. These are big rock-star like songs that reek of pretentiousness and unnecessary grandeur, with predictable results: the second half of the record is almost worthless, consisting almost exclusively of nothing saying, anonymous hum-alongs that fail to incite any sort of emotion in its listener. In other words, perfect for the mainstream audiences, huh?

That said, the album does have its moments. "Baby of The Year", "Love A Liar", and the title track "Paradise" are all worthy of mention - the latter being the sole punk rock track on the record that at least resembles what this band used to sound like back in the day. Punk rock or not, these are highly enjoyable sing-alongs where Dale's melodic expression comes to its own, given the rock'n'roll style instrumentation. The humongous "100,000 Candles" and its "why is the world on fire, why is the world on fire" backing lines are also excellent. The band delves headfirst into guitar harmonies, theatrical crescendos, dramatic production, and other gimmicks that I'm usually allergic to in these types of releases, but they do work well here.

Sadly, there way too many doozers and filler-type of tracks on the record. "Edmond Girls", "Apocalypse, Please!", "Young, Beautiful & Broke", "Doin' It For Love", "Fremont Casino" etc. All nothing saying tracks that have little staying power - very much like when The Gaslight Anthem did the same trick moving away from punk. As a result, a few solid cuts can't save an entire album from mediocrity. Together with the self-titled, it doesn't feel like RCR can be saved anymore if you're longing for their raw emotional sing-alongs with high-tempo and rowdy atmospheres of the debut and the sophomore album. But hey, good luck in the mainstream.

Download: Baby Of The Year, Paradise, Love A Liar, 100,000 Candles
For the fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, Great Apes, Banquets
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.12.2020
Pure Noise Records

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