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If you have a sweet tooth for pop, then look no further than The Radio. Behind the melodies, though, is a story of struggle and redemption.
Craig Fitzsimons, 23 Aug 2007
Though Phil Spector’s current tribulations might render any collaboration impossible for the foreseeable future, there’s no doubt that the old boy would have adored The Radio instantaneously.
Setting out to recapture the bubbly purity of Blondie’s golden years, with vague hints of slightly darker entities like the truly enchanting Primitives, The Radio specialise in a lush pop aesthetic, with girlie vocals that could wrap the most stony-hearted old cynic around their little finger at lightning speed.
The brainchild of ex-Rollerskate Skinny man Stephen M, The Radio formed in 2004 and have been on a steady upward curve ever since, with Caroline Lee Baker and Sue Rose supplying the sweetest of vocals. For his part, Stephen (who cites Spector, the Ramones, the Clash and the B-52’s as especial touchstones) seems fairly certain that the gang’s second opus Charm Offensive will herald a major breakthrough.
“Everything seems to be happening really fast,” he grins, “this is really the start of it, I can feel the momentum. ’Cause we’re amazing, as the record proves. It was in gestation for a year or two – it should have been out a year ago, but it got held up. Most of the tunes started swirling around my head not long after the last record came out, and I couldn’t wait to get them out there. On occasion, I’ll just strum and wait till something comes together. Other times, I actually hear the whole thing in my head and have to run home and try to get it down on the dictaphone before I forget the tune. I lost a couple of them – I’ve probably lost millions in the process – but hopefully they’ll come back to me.”
Live, the band are prone to experimentation. “We try to mess around with the songs live to a mild extent – I’m not precious, I’m not a perfectionist. Caroline plays a lot more Moog. Obviously most of them are three-minute pop confections, so there isn’t a whole lot you can do to them, but we try to avoid going out there, being all slick and professional and playing the same note-perfect versions of the same songs every performance. Discipline’s fine, but you can overdo it. I don’t give a shit: if a song was to fall apart half-way through, it genuinely wouldn’t bother me. Music should be fun. But in general, most musicians are a bunch of miserable moany whinging pricks, going on and on about themselves. It’s all very narcissistic. It’s crap.