Sunday, December 12, 2010

Put yourself in the not-too-distant future where, naturally, robot humanoids rule the earth. Now invite yourself to an underground house party where a nihilistic two-piece garage band are playing. That band is Radiant City. Unlike a lot of other principally instrumental bands, Radiant City do not use a conventionally big or polished sound to get their point across; they are less refined, rawer and all the better for it. Recorded and mixed in lounge and dining rooms around suburban Melbourne you can hear the hands-on sound of the band. In Safe And Secure the lazy, drawling tone of Andrew McLaughlin's Telecaster is unmistakable; it feels as though you can hear the rust on the strings as plectrum scrapes along them, like nails on a chalk board, beginning the song.

The band really erupts in the latter half of the album; there is a sonic bombardment where they loosen the reins of every aspect of their sound, the abhorrent textural guitar, the simple, powerful drumming and the distant, and at times even melodic, electronics. Radiant City display real ingenuity as songwriters for a largely instrumental band, especially considering they are working within the confines of a duo. The sounds vary but work cohesively.

Amongst the raw guitar, the sheer volume of the band and the alienating soundscape of feedback and electronics, there is a real warmth. More than the warmth afforded by a home recording, it shows the strength of the songs; they take you to the edge before reeling you back in with undeniably powerful and understated riffs.

Dave Drayton @ The Drum