Best Albums of 2011 – Radiation City’s The Hands That Take You

by thespaciousherbacious

Welcome to the first entry for my favorite Albums of 2011! I know, I’m a bit late seeming as how 2012 is well under way, but better late than never. Now, this is no countdown. All of these albums are to be presented in a non-meaningful order, hopefully about one a day. Some albums I have more to say about than others, just bear with me on that. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Hands That Take You from Portland-based band, Radiation City.

This debut album as a whole has a really streamlined aural theme. I want to say that a song like Babies is a standout, but honestly, none of the songs really stand out because they all have the same vibe to them. Some might think of that as a negative thing, but I think it’s a testament to their rich, engrossing sound. Just as no song is a standout, no song is a sore thumb. They all meld together in one unified production of forlorn nostalgia.

And no song says forlorn nostalgia quite as well as The Color of Industry. This track harnesses the sound of a 1950’s malt shop before expanding into a sweetly modernizing layered drum and synth beat. Eventually, the horns come in to support the bass for a nice, full sound.

Staccato synth stabs add an energizing immediacy on a number of tracks. On Babies, the listener is rewarded for following the tenuously stretching verses with building crescendos of those signature staccato synth strikes and slinking, pumping bass, reverby guitar strums, and crashing cymbals. On Mammals, the stabbing synths highlight the wistfully embittered vocals that swing along with the help of marching drums, exhaling, “it’s the ease of living that’s devouring me.”

Upbeat drums and handclaps combine with percussive synths to create a bubbling sensation that pops up on several songs including Salsaness and The Things You Tell Us, both of which are accompanied by a twangy guitar – another motif of the album.

Disheartened, disenchanted, disillusioned. Never have I heard these feelings sung so sexily. The singer’s sultry, often whispered, vocals are the kind that melt your soul. A sexy, but dignified sensuality. Don’t overlook this gem too quickly! Each and every song builds to a sumptuously rewarding moment of climax. Check out break-out artist of 2011, Radiation City.

 

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