Published Feb 20, 2015Brooklyn three-piece Radical Dads (including drummer Robbie Guertin, formerly of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) deliver loose, poppy indie on their third full-length album, Universal Coolers.
The opener "Absurd Tests" and the beachy "Tomorrow's Trash" are in line with the band's style: ramshackle, with low key, flailing vocals and lyrics like "Time is like a slippery fish" against a '90s slacker guitar backdrop. The most successful result of this approach is "DJ Pancake," in which the discordant elements mesh better than on other album tracks.
"Slammer" is a bouncy track with a dreamy, feel-good through-line and scratchy and sparse guitar. "In the Water" and "Don't Go" are quaint and sentimental, bringing Alvvays to mind. The shouted words on "Flight to NZ" sound like B52s' Fred Schneider singing over Sebadoh.
This breezy release goes down pretty easy, but some listeners may be irked by the fact there is something left to be desired in terms of personality. The question, for Radical Dads more than anyone else: What makes this band distinct? (Old Flame)