Radio Dept. Pet Grief

Though they were briefly discovered in 2004 (and then dropped the next year) by XL, which distributed their majestic debut album Lesser Matters worldwide, outside of a small circle of blogs and committed Scandophiles, Malmo, Sweden’s the Radio Dept. have been criminally overlooked. Now back solely on their native Labrador label for the time being, they’ve returned with a second, more polished album that tightens up their expansively wistful vision and manages to surpass their debut in excellence. As with any classic album, Pet Grief captures a mood and doesn’t wander with it, something that was achieved but with a far more distracting scope on Lesser Matters. These Swedes are all about ambience, and this album rings with it forcing you into a hypnotic daydream oscillations. The somewhat simple but pensive lyrics come to life through a backdrop of reverb-drenched melodies that suggests the members like to gaze at their shoes. Johan Duncanson’s words read like ambiguous diary entries, and consequently, there’s hardly a moment where the Swedes break out of their blissfully melancholic state — but that’s the kind of songwriting that makes for the best meditative listening. Pet Grief will hopefully cement the Radio Dept. the notoriety they deserved three years ago with Lesser Matters. If not, at least we can count on the heartbreak from its failure to inspire yet another classic, because so far that trend is working like a charm. (Voodoo Eros)