by Justin Kay
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then My Radio‘s new album Starts in the East/Falls in the West surely has the alt rock world blushing. The first thing that I noticed was how strangely familiar the album sounded for something I had never heard before. Almost every song on the record resembles something I had previously heard in one way or another and in less than subtle fashion. You can instantly recognize major influences from some of the alternative and indie powerhouses such as Coldplay, Bloc Party, Phoenix and the Strokes.
The album starts off slow with the opener “600 MPH” and really doesn’t pick up any steam until the fourth song “Bricks and Mortar.” The track features catchy rhythm guitar and poppy drums. From there My Radio transitions into another up beat tune with the extremely dancy “Life Moves On,” which uses a driving beat and great vocal melody to move the song along and keep the listener bobbing their head from start to finish. That being said these tunes just resemble other bands and their songs a little too much and do not really offer the listener anything fresh or exciting. After those few memorable songs the album gradually starts to slow down once again and it is never really able to achieve a solid flow or offer anything new to keep the listeners full attention.
On a positive note the recording quality is excellent and JP Powell has a very strong and crisp voice that at times reminds me of Chris Martin from Coldplay (most notably on the opening and closing tracks). The band definitely shows strong musical ability but the album lacks imagination and a certain level of emotion that separates good albums from great ones. There are a few memorable moments and flashes of brilliance here and there, but overall there is not enough substance to make the album as a whole stand out. Especially if you were to compare it to some of the bands My Radio seems to take after.
Starts in the East/Falls in the West takes a very straight forward and business like approach to alternative rock, which leaves the listener a little under whelmed and desiring something more. This album is average at best and never really strays from the familiar and predictable. However, I do believe that My Radio has the talent and skill set to create interesting and moving music, but in order to accomplish that they need to let go of relying on recycled ideas from other bands and follow their own path.