Torch Song by Radiator Hospital (Album of the Week)


Album: Torch Song

Artist: Radiator Hospital

Year: 2014

Details: 15 songs; 33 minutes

Choice: Gone Mild

If my memory serves me correctly, when I was in college there between 1978 and 1982, winters in Schenectady, New York lasted from late October until April. May would inevitably be a muddy mess due to April showers and the melting of about 4 feet of snow and ice. But then it would happen. Spring days. The beautiful green spaces of Union College would fill up with people who had been swaddled in rag wool sweaters and socks, corduroy, and LL Bean down for months. Windows would open and speakers would be propped into them so that everyone sitting, standing, running, or laying outside could enjoy shared energy that had been dormant and waiting to reemerge. In my mind, those were days of pure bliss, and the music memory of that joy is New Wave music. Radiator Hospital recalls that music memory. While it is not all guitar-y driven rockers, there is enough there that anyone who was there during those days would know what I am talking about. I liked listening to this.

The band offers their music free on their Bandcamp website. Donations are encouraged, but not required. Dan paid for the download for our listening these past couple weeks. Whatever he paid, was money well spent. 15 songs in 33 minutes! The songs come and go with haste.

The lead singer, to my ear, is a vocal doppelgänger of the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel. He has one of those slurry, nasally styles that makes it hard to pick out the words. That made it easy for me to just let the music play over my ears and not necessarily permeate my brain. Dan notes over on Gone Mild that the energy of the music belies the more serious nature of the song-writing. I get that, but I am okay to do this one my shallow way.

Sometimes reviewing these albums is made harder by the fact that it is not music that I would listen to, making it difficult to find space in my musical vocabulary to fit it in. This one, while it may be more than the good time and the sound memory that it provides to me, I am content to leave it there.

Next Up: The New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers


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