Looking at the sleeve of Radiation City‘s new album, it looks like there’s been one hell of a weird party. That’s pretty much how Synesthetica starts out – Oil Show (oo-er) is a nimble-footed little jam that masks its sadface-notions with cheek-to-cheek inspirations.
That’s kind of what the Portland quintet are great at: covering some rather delightfully pointed notions behind winning, radio-friendly pop-rock chords. Juicy has the best kind of St Vincent hangover, Butter melts in the hands of Lizzy Ellison’s yearning vocals, Come And Go employs a joyous throwback boy-girl dynamic to A+ effect. So far, so good.
What could have been a sterling indie effort is somewhat derailed, as always, by a disappointing second half. Sugar Broom starts a tail-off where even the band seem slightly disinterested, a shame given how much verve has been on display to this point. While they certainly radiate a lot more warmth than most bands of their ilk, Synesthetica doesn’t quite feel like the record to make this lot explode.