Radio Holiday – S/T

Radio Holiday’s eponymous debut album is the type of album that appeals to only a small sector of the music society. I don’t want to use the “punk-emo” term, but alas, the album is the epitome of the type of music that falls under that category: Loud drums, in-your-face distortion, biting vocals, and clichéd instrumentation. What else could you ask for?
Radio Holiday has the ability to garner endless comparisons. Whether this is good or bad is ultimately up to the listener, but I find it very frustrating. From Thrice songs (“Knowledge Hurts”) and …Trail of Dead songs (“Just A Friend”) to Burning Airlines (“When You’re Around”) and Jimmy Eat World songs (“Battery Acid”), Radio Holiday manage to capture a limited amount of each band, albeit with a tamer approach. Sure, there may be some redeemable qualities dispersed throughout, but they do not hold a candle to the aforementioned groups (possibly Jimmy Eat World).
Each of the 10 tracks is marked with sameness. All feature mid-tempo drums, thick-as-Pinkerton guitar distortion, and abrasive, raspy vocals. This formula was fairly effective on the first half of the album, but the magic begins to wane as soon as track six, “Drug Called You,” plays. And from the first hits of track seven, “Easy Way Out,” you’re ready to throw in a Belle & Sebastian album just for variation. Ultimately, the band lacks variety. They shouldn’t constantly rely on the same song structure because, in the first place, it’s not very original. Secondly, if we wanted to hear this type of music, we’d turn on Modern Rock Radio, but we know better than that.
After all my complaining, there really are some strong moments on the album. Closer “Coffin Varnish” is, without a doubt, the strongest song on the album. It’s the slowest track and begins with a visceral vocal performance that is not only unique, but marked with undeniable passion. “Reaner” is another standout track on the album. Although it is, once again, relying on the ready-made structure, it has a bridge that causes it to stand out amongst the other roaring numbers.
I have to admit that upon my first listening, I was horribly disgusted at the derivative music – but with each subsequent listen, I was more and more impressed. For fans of this type of music, it may be just what you’re looking for. Seriously. It has all the elements to make you love the album. But if you’re like me, a person who supports creativity and experimentation over cloning, then you can surely do without the album. I think the album would have come across better in the mid-90s, but it’s the new millennium now… we’re all a bunch of elitist indie snobs now. Can I get an amen?