Saturday, July 18, 2015

Radioactivity- Silent Kill

Very few songwriters posses the confidence in me that goes to the extent of where I would blindly follow their next step with full support before even hearing it, because I'm that sure of what they do. If you take a look at this very small list in my mind, you can count on seeing Jeff Burke's name right there. The special breed of rock 'n' roll he creates is something I became quite devoted to as a fan of the Marked Men and when I saw his path evolving into a new band called Radioactivity year before last, it was a no-brainer to become instantly smitten with their debut self-titled record. That first set of thirteen songs brought to life by Jeff, Mark Ryan(another songwriter I completely adore!), and Gregory Rutherford still makes an at least weekly appearance in my rotation. After the addition of Daniel Fried on second guitar who also has a long running history with the guys in other bands(Mind SpidersBad Sports, High Tension Wires), the Dallas/Ft Worth, TX  based trio became an even more powerful quartet releasing a great 7", but I was beyond thrilled to see news that a second full length LP was on the way. It was a bit of a tease, but the kind you want to hear a few tracks that were leaked starting last April but the whole record has been revealed my anticipation has been 100% satisfied."Silent Kill" is here!

The recording process for these songs began shortly after their first record was released and wrapped in the Fall of last year at Cool Devices Studio in the Dallas/Ft Worth area of Texas. For the same reasons I love a studio like T.U.P. in Italy, I love Cool Devices as well which is owned and operated by Jeff and Mark due to their analog approach in sound. The work they do is impeccable, truly capturing what any band does that spends any time there and this recording came out beautiful. Mastering was handled by Matthew Barnhart at Chicago Mastering Service and with the audio portion complete, the cover art designing duties were taken on by Patrick Lillard. Featuring imagery shot by Brian Maryansky, this time the cover took on a more dark feeling in appearance that aligns well with the album title. Official release happened on June 29th from Dirtnap Records and I have to say right here how much I appreciate this label's level of professionalism. Their releases always arrive in absolutely pristine condition and in record time! The copy I ordered was in my hands within three days of placing an order on release day, and it's like this every time I order from Dirtnap. People deserve the praise when they're kicking ass at what they do so I will most definitely recommend your business going to this label and their record store Green Noise Records which always has a great selection to browse from! Going back to this amazing release, it is available on a black vinyl LP or CD. There was also a very limited clear vinyl variant that I was lucky enough to get and it is now sold out! Digital only is available through bandcamp where all songs are streaming in full so go press play if you've not heard them yet. I'll wait for you! 

In thinking about exactly what it is that I love about Radioactivity... well, it's a lot of things! The songs they play hold an excellent mixture of influences, ranging anywhere from the boldness of 60's garage rock, to true punk rock(I'm talking what took place in the mid to late 70's), and then in that fundamental spirit, they branch off into a place that is only them. When you hear Radioactivity, you know exactly who you're hearing from the first few seconds of sound and once they're engaged with their instruments, there's this incredible wall of sound that is always present. It's engaging and impactful but never comes across as a pompous display of skill! It's always very deliberate and sincere. All of these elements were present in their debut record but moving into "Silent Kill", it is even more defined and expanding into a much heavier realm. Side One opens up with "Battered" which is a full on rock 'n' roll assault, moving quickly to create a backdrop for Jeff's powerfully beautiful voice. I was crazy for this song right away but something I thought was very cool is just when it starts to fade, those last few notes lead into the next track, "Stripped Away" which is an entirely different little universe, but the transition is seamless. "Way Out" is one of my first favorites to show up, with a darker tone and some very well done backing vocals by Jeff's brother, Mark that add in another layer of depth to the song. The title track follows right after with a great hook and my second favorite, "No Connection" closes this side and is a good representation of this band's growth. A lovely ballad driven by a steady bassline, slower in pace but just as impactful and with some great lyrics that are very open to a listener's interpretation. Side Two transitions right back into the more upbeat energy Radioactivity has mastered with "I Know" but there's some surprises to be found! "Where I Come From" is a great example of that. Just an absolute gem with a haunting atmosphere, chill inducing vocals, and it is another one I really love. "Silent" is also fantastic with a wonderfully shot video you can see here if you've not checked it out yet but my most favorite song on the whole record is the last. An almost dizzying rhythm leads into "Pretty Girl" and everything about it is addicting. It's an ending that shows these guys are a force to be reckoned with and works like some kind of subliminal mind trick on me because all I want is just to play the record a few more times when it ends all too soon! 

I think it's not so easy for most bands to make a powerful debut and then followup with an effort that is just as mighty, but shifting into a different energy that solidifies presence. Like The Ramones did with Leave Home, that's what Radioactivity has done with "Silent Kill" and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing. Make sure to pick this record up from Dirtnap or from the band as they are planning on some tour dates and to stay tuned for exactly where those will be happening, keep watch over at their facebook page. I'm hoping they'll be coming my way!

Radioactivity is...
Jeff Burke- Guitar, Vocals
Mark Ryan- Bass
Gregory Rutherford- Drums
Daniel Fried- Guitar

With backing vocals by Mark Burke

All songs written by Jeff Burke

Side One
1. Battered
2. Stripped Away
3. Not Here
4. Way Out 
5. Silent Kill
6. No Connection
Side Two
7. I Know
8. No Alarm
9. Where I Come From
10. Silent 
11. With You 
12. Pretty Girl

No comments:

Post a Comment