Radio Dept. Lesser Matters

While shoegazer revivalists seem to have difficulty recognising it is now 12 years later, you have to give them credit for sticking to their guns. The dreamy, effects-laden guitar sound has popped up in some of recent memory’s best records, such as the efforts by M83 and Ulrich Schnauss, so if they want to they can gloat. Sweden’s the Radio Dept. have done the best job of utilising this stubborn sub-genre though. Originally released last year in their home country, Lesser Matters, their debut full-length, is easily the best album to appear in the shoegazing aftermath and certainly a contender with the best of the originators. Where this foursome succeed most is making their influences obvious while integrating other ideas into their arrangements. For instance, "Why Won’t You Talk About It?” taps into the Jesus & Mary Chain’s droning wall of noise and lethargic vocals, yet the pulsating drum machine and tuneful organ are just as central to the song’s groundwork. "Where Damage Isn’t Already Done,” on the other hand, is like Eric’s Trip trying their hand at garage rock, and "1995” beats the Postal Service at their own game, injecting a hefty dose of emotional longing into a more rock-based composition. The suction cup-popping rhythm section and pensive synth in "Strange Things Will Happen” goes even further to show how invested the Radio Dept. are in making a well rounded impact on the listener. This is the stuff that dream pop is made of. (XL)