RCA Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Radford is a band that confuses me.

On one hand, their self-titled debut release has the quirky sound of late-'70s bands that is both hard to pin down and is quite appealing to my ear. On the other hand, it almost sounds like I'm listening to the love child of The Stone Roses, Oasis and The Charlatans UK with the overlapping guitar and vocal work. The end result is still a very listenable album, though you might find your head spinning by the end.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band - vocalist/guitarist Jonny Mead, guitarist/vocalist Chris Hower, bassist/vocalist Bobby Stefano and drummer/vocalist Kane McGee - obviously know how to write decent songs; this is evident throughout Radford. Tracks like "Don't Stop," "Come On," "Over You" and "Ash In My Life" all appeal to the listener's emotions and senses in a unique way. But often I found myself wondering, "Is this really Oasis without the heavy accents?" There is a touch of the Britpop wunderkids in Radford's music, but not so much that you would scream "copycat".

Instead, Radford seems to draw their musical inspiration from groups like The Stone Roses and The Charlatans UK, both of whom seemed to perfect the layered sound of guitar armies and vocals. Radford has learned these lessons, though the occasional feedback weirdness in "You've Got Friends" threatens to take the listener out of the mix far too early. I hadn't recovered from that even by the time I got through the second track "Closer To Myself".

But where Radford do inject their own signature into the mix is when there is an acoustic vein thrown into the pot. Tracks like "Fly" and "How Does It Feel?" greatly benefit from this twist, and it allows some fresh air to come into the project. If anything, these breaks help to rejuvanate the music, and tracks like "Stand On The Moon" and "Overflow" seem to be more palatable.

Radford is by no means a bad album, nor is Radford a bad group. There is a lot of promise that this quartet has in store, and it will be fun to follow them throughout their career. But while their first album is still a pleasant enough listen, it almost feels like they took the safe route with it - and if I were making my living as a musician, I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing. This is still a disc worth checking out, especially if you like late-'80s Britpop with a twist.

Rating: B-

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