If Radar Eyes is one of those bands that if they’ve managed to escape your radar, it might be a good idea to take a listen, immediately. The Chicago originated garage punk/post-punk band is solid. Often mixing a variety of influences to create a dark and psychedelic jam. Their latest album, Radiant Remains captures a variety of these influences and puts them in their best light. The album is powerful and emotional –driven and often just fun to listen to. With nearly a decade of playing under their belt, it’s no wonder Radar Eyes is so good.
Radar Eyes is both true to the post-punk genre while adding a fresh twist of modern taste. Radiant Remains tosses out deep vocals, some dark guitar lines, and a grungy atmosphere. At the same time, it often feels like the band had no trouble working in their own tastes for psychedelia and what sounds like a dash of rock’n’roll and reverb. Radar Eyes proves to be a post-punk band with some variability and flexibility. Even if you’re not a typical fan of the genre, Radiant Remains has enough diversity to keep anyone hooked.
Radiant Remains begins with a track called, “Dreaming of Giants.” The choice of chords initially comes across a little surfy –although it’s a very gray day on that beach. The vocals are desperate and the song often drives on with some intense energy. It’s fairly thematic and yet still punk. There’s something boisterous about the track that screams wild west or at least, ‘theme for a badass’. And alas it makes sense, because Radiant Remains really is a badass album.
The third track that Radar Eyes throws our ways, “Between Two Worlds,” is dreamy and again, almost thematic. The guitars are crisp and accompany some intense, deep, wailing vocal lines. Add a sweet guitar solo and the addition of a flute and suddenly you’re blown away. Radar Eyes nails it with an early track and defiantly marks themselves as a solid punk band.
Again, Radiant Remains is a bit eclectic, while keeping things deep and sentimental –often dark. It’s a post-punk variety show. Almost every track is likable in some way, and probably lovable in another. If one doesn’t appeal to you, another likely will. At the same time, there’s not necessarily any stellar, knockout hits. The album is mostly safe –not experimenting too much. Still, what Radar Eyes does play is absolutely solid.
The album keeps up with the quality and caps things off beautifully towards the end. “Midnight Drive” is fast with constant percussive hits and a powerful guitar melody –cut with some atmospheric keys. “Fall Into Place” bursts out some high chords and a melancholic melody that starts the song just right. The vocals gain a certain sentimentality and the band takes on a Jay Reatard-esque sound. It’s a solid track and a personal favorite. By the time Radiant Remains comes to a close, it’s almost disappointing. The entire album is such a solid listen, you’ll crave more.
Conclusion –go listen to Radiant Remains. Radar Eyes keeps things loose –shifting sounds a bit while maintaining the core of their style throughout the album. It makes for a superb listen which blends post-punk, punk, garage, psychedelic –you name it, it’s there. Not quite Joy Division, but at times a bit Reatard –Radar Eyes hits a homerun. Radiant Remains is some of the best new, fresh, inspired punk this year.