Published Oct 20, 2017Wikipedia describes Radiator Hospital as an emo group. The band might have something to say about that; their new album Play the Songs You Like falls closer to punk-tinged indie rock, the kind of upbeat tunes bands like the Pixies once wrote.
But where that band's song were awash in guitar effects and grungy charm, Radiator Hospital sound smothered, as if all the amplifiers had thick blankets over them during recording. The seeds of a great album are here, and songs like "Half Empty" and "Sycamore (for Martha)" nail the kind of catchy indie rock bounce that the band seem to have been aiming for.
Unfortunately, for the most part, the album buzzes by without leaving much impact. None of the songs last longer than three minutes, but at 16 tracks, the album still seems to drag, making other small details like the missed high notes on "Old Refrain" more noticeable and wince-worthy. It feels like Radiator Hospital spent too much time coming up with new ideas and not enough on working with the ideas they already had; as a result, Play the Songs You Like feels unfinished at best, and uninspired at worst. (Salinas)