What do you get if you take two guitars, a box, and vocal harmonies? Well in the case of acoustic rock band The Radioactive Grandma, you get a storm of beautifully crafted melodic masterpieces brought with an energy and passion most electrified bands fail to capture. Their debut self titled album is a collection of such songs, a stirring riot of emotion and enterprise to ignite every essence of pleasure imaginable. Aware of the band from the excellent video of an even greater song Another Wasted Line, there were strong expectations going into the album but even the quality of that song did not prepare one for the full force and immense triumph of the release.
The trio from County Cavan, Ireland, with members originally from Dublin and Peterborough in the UK, formed in February of 2011 and have built an impressive reputation and following across Ireland with their alternative indie rock brought in their own unique acoustic and energetically driven way. Consisting of Johno Leader (guitar, vocals), Peter Donohue (guitar, vocals), and Ben McCarthy (cajon, percussion, vocals), the band produce a volume of intensity and sound which belies their number and choice of instrumental strength (live and in the studio). The heart and feisty passion brought to each and every song combines to brew up a towering and irresistible presence which is simply impressive.
The album immediately lights up the ear with the opening harmonies and guitar caresses of The Game, the song a warm invitation into the album. It soon erupts into an energised emotive charge to ignite the senses fully, voices and guitars shimmering with harmonic elegance and lifted intensity.
From the impressive start the album reaches and finds greater heights with the following Don’t Look Down and Another Wasted Line. The first agitates the air with earnest vocals and teasing riffs aided by an electrified nibbling behind. Into its full stride the track explodes with an anthemic emotive charge to make the word infectious seem lightweight. With the rampaging energies and harmonic drive, the band reminds of eighties band The Woodentops, their structure of sounds and insatiable melodic contagion of equal and similar breath. The second song no matter how many times heard incites nothing but adoration and participation. It is a song impossible to pass by without hands, feet, and voice adding their eagerness, its choppy and thumping pulse a contagion to be devoured and shared greedily.
Every song on the album is just majestic, the album full of immense and varied slices of songwriting and musicianship. Songs like the mesmeric Chasing My Tail with its sharp electric strikes and the gentle Robot Song trigger their own individual flames with a softer and more mellow touch though still generate an aural heat to mesmerise and deeply please. In many ways the diversity of the album was a surprise from the limited instrumentation used but there is never an end to imagination and the band certainly have that.
The outstanding Waves is a giant of a song, its rising crescendos impossible not to adore and melodic hook a lure no one can escape from. Another song which rocks the balls off many other fully armoured up releases so if anyone tells you acoustic rock is feeble send them towards The Radioactive Grandma.
What Are You Running From, Fly With The Crows, and Not Soon Enough all send the senses into further rapture with their intelligent and beautifully crafted souls. They all carry their own personal charms and stirring gaits, and each with ease lift the heart again and again. There is a heavier electric presence in the latter two of the trio which adds a bite and different energy but no song veers away from its acoustic core and impassioned heart.
Ending with The Walls Have Ears, a final Supergrass like brawl of dynamic melodies and boisterous energy, the album is easily up with the best to be released this year. It is quite brilliant and The Radioactive Grandma, even with their deceptive name, a band you must have and need in your musical world.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright