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The Radium Screen
White Faces
Lalala Records
www.theradiumscreen.com


The first thing I noticed when I looked at The Radium Screen's new EP, White Faces, was the bright cover art. The front and back covers have two different closeups of bright red opium poppies, and it makes you wonder how many poppies were harmed (or harvested…) in the making of this album.

The band's members are Aaron Hodge, previously of Mr. Panic Button, and Brian Huffines, another musician on the Louisville scene. Both were guitar players who wanted to collaborate on a separate project in which no guitars would be used. The result of this collaboration, White Faces, finds no guitar work but plenty of keyboard and synthesizer layers mixed with downtempo style beats.

The first track on this EP just rubbed me the wrong way each time I listened to it, and I finally came up with a couple rational reasons why. The first thing that caught my attention was how bland the vocals were. There was little to no variation in the vocals, which sound somewhat like a higher pitched, somewhat raw Depeche Mode. With "Dirty Blonde", the melody was extremely harsh and sounded like a non-melodic, background track brought to the surface. In "Amen", the track starts out with promise by easing into the song with a Russian conversation in the background and an ethereal synthesizer on the surface to a driving raw beat. The vocals then came in and continued to sing the same progression of notes over and over again which ended up being irritating by the end of the song. The last two tracks, in my humble opinion, were the reason this EP is good. "She Stands" begins with a non-intrusive, yet driving, beat which slowly evolves into a dark symphony of computerized sounds. The vocals on this track are much better because they do not overwhelm the track, and they are just as dark as the music. The final track, "Blood Song", has the best melodies of the album which are driven by subtle beats intermingled with a soft synthesized organ. Unfortunately, the vocals return to the harsh, raw sound of the first two tracks which clashes with the dark, mysterious sounds found in this track. So in all, the music was worth going out to get the EP but in my opinion they should move towards the vocals found on "She Stands" in order to create a brilliant album, instead of a good album.

-Liger Woods

Track List:
1. Dirty Blonde
2. Amen
3. She Stands
4. Blood Song


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