Each time I write the phrase “garage-punk” I like it less and less. Still, how else to describe a band that blends pop-punk and garage so well? Actually, in recent reviews I’ve taken to simply comparing bands to the Marked Men, which takes us directly to Radioactivity.
Radioactivity is Jeff Burke and Mark Ryan, half of Marked Men, joined by Gregory Rutherford (Bad Sports on drums and a second guitarist. While the namedrops are heavy, it is Burke’s project, a continuation of The Novice, a band he played with while living in Japan. He moved back to Texas and kept some of the songs, changing the band name and his surrounding cast in the process.
Right when the record starts it has that familiar feel. Maybe it’s a touch slower (maybe) and the group harmonies aren’t as pronounced, but it’s immediately powerful and standout. This matches Burke’s discography and continues to explore those punchy melodies and big, hyper rhythms. His songwriting voice has always been strong, but it continues to grow. Starter “Sickness” sets the tone but, when the record hits the third song, “World of Pleasure,” the ball drops. The volcanoes erupt. The world may have ended; I’m not sure. I’m just bouncing my foot and rolling in joyous harmony along with Burke and co. “Get Straight” is another wonderful song, grabbing more of a pop-tone in Ryan’s vocals while the lead guitars play at rapid speed, met by a calmer rhythm.
If there are faults, which isn’t certain, Ryan’s vocals can get a bit same-y and the tone is pretty similar in each song. There is some variation, though, even if it’s a bit limited. “Alright,” a slower song, is a bit forgettable but it proves the band can change from that super fast tempo to catch their breath and avoid monotony in sequencing. “Trusted You” similarly slows it down a peg, with better results, as does the refrain of “Alone.” On a smaller level, each song sees some variation, though more subtle, with breakdowns and shifts in song, generally following a chorus. The switch-ups keep it interesting as that frantic beat keeps pounding forward. The vibe of the record is an ever-present forward-driving motion. It’s like running in circles continuously, gaining speed each round, only when it peaks it doesn’t go off course and crash into a wall, it just shifts a gear and resets. This is to be the first of two new records for the new band, and it’s setting the bar high.
8.8 / 10
Posted Feb. 24, 2018, 1:54 p.m.
In more festival news, Damanged City Fest 2018 returns to Washington, DC from April 5-8. The annual punk and hardcore festival is now in its sixth year and, among other ...
Posted July 4, 2016, 10:35 a.m.
Dirtnap artists Radioactivity have scheduled a short UK tour for the end of July. The band, featuring Jeff Burke (The Novice, Marked Men), also includes members of Bad Sports and ...
Posted Oct. 1, 2015, 3:33 p.m.
Dirtnap Records' band Radioactivity have hit the road for a West Coast juany in support of this year's Silent Kill. The band, fronted by Jeff Burke (the Marked Men ...
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