When Radio 4 released Gotham, it instantly became one of my favorite albums of all time. It was packed full of great songs that were great to dance to and also contained a message. But the band faltered with the distinctly average Stealing of a Nation. It wasn't so much that Stealing of a Nation was a bad album, it just wasn't a good one. Following after Gotham helped to compound the averageness of it. With the release of Enemies Like This, Radio 4 must be hoping that they've made something closer to the former rather than the latter.
The good news for the band is that Enemies Like This is a better album than it's predecessor, the bad news is that it's not nearly as strong as Gotham. The album starts off strongly and the introduction to the title track, with its brilliant drumbeat and up-tempo bassline, gives you hope. Then Anthony Roman's vocals kick in and you realize that all is not right here. The vocals sound forced and sound like they were sung into the microphone through a tin can. It doesn't help that the lyrics are a little clichÃÂ©d, what with everyone taking pot shots at the current American administration.
And that is the biggest problem for Radio 4. They were one of the first bands to appear with this brand of funky/ post-punk sound; now there are literally hundreds of bands that have come out of the woodwork and gone in this sonic direction. And Radio 4 have not grown enough to sound any different in this overcrowded market. This mixed in with the fact that everyone in the music industry seems to be political and writing songs about how awful Bush is, they are not nearly as edgy as they were when tackling the closing down of fire stations in their native New York or homelessness.
The album is still a high tempo groove filled affair and on most songs you do feel yourself moving with the music, it's just that songs like "Grass is Greener" and "This is Not a Test" are instantly forgettable. Not to mention all the tracks seem to blend into one another very easily.
It hurts me to say this, but Radio 4 has reached a stage of mediocrity that looks inescapable now. From the great heights of Gotham to this in just two albums is unbelievable. Enemies Like This feels like something that the band churned out without any real emotional attachment.
4.0 / 10
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