The Misfits comparisons don’t really wash. Radkey’s rough-and-tumble melodicism channels Iggy Pop’s desperate, flyover-state garage punk much more than it does Danzig’s cartoonish urban dread. On Love Spills, the Radke brothers opt to utilize their tight instrumentation in an effort to pound their hooks deep into the listener’s brain, lumbering at a militaristic tempo in order to maximize the bombast. Unlike the frantic double-time of the previously-released Out Here In My Head, Radkey opts to focus the listener’s attention on the verse by stripping back the instrumentation to bass/drums/harmonies, which also ups the ante on the break section after the final chorus. Also, rather than adopt the ironic pose of their later-released Dark Black Make-Up (a pose which seems to come very naturally to them), Radkey’s vocalist reads as particularly earnest, though spectacularly vague, about what he’s singing about. Whatever it is, he sure seems like he means it.
Is this song an ode to premature ejaculation? Possible. In any case, that guitar break sure does rock.
What comes next for Radkey remains up in the air. They appear to be punk rock true-believers, having opted for a home-schooled education in order to tour the world. They play competently and with confidence and they have clearly taken notes on some of the greatest moments in the rock catalog. Their overall perspective, any idea of where they’d like to position themselves within that legacy, however, remains a mystery. They have all the makings of a solid, idiosyncratic backstory—three post-millennial brothers growing up in middle-America and opting to play a worshipful tribute to classic melodic punk from decades past, but you rarely get a sense of who they are (or even a detailed outline of who they’d like to be) in their lyric-writing. Sonically, the listener can understand where this group wants to position itself; somewhere in between The Vibrators — Pure Mania and a greatest-hits Misfits mixtape. Outside of that though, what makes this group tick? Why bother traversing the country converting the already-converted? Hopefully, we’ll find out soon.
In their best songs, you can hear how they fully understand how to construct a killer rock tune, slapping together melodic hooks and memorable choruses, underscored with a confidently forward-thrusting rhythm section. Pay attention to this trio of brothers from St Joseph, Missouri and it might just pay off for you in a big way, once they figure out what they want to say to you.
RIYL: The Voidoids – Love Comes In Spurts, The Vibrators – Sweet, Sweet Heart, jean-jackets-with-the-sleeves-torn-off, unironic mutton-chops