The Radio Dept. “Heaven’s on Fire”

By One Track Mind on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010  |  7,397 views


The Radio Dept. “Heaven’s on Fire” The Radio Dept. “Heaven’s on Fire”

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For seven years, Lund Sweden’s The Radio Dept. have been my favorite band on my favorite record label… which is saying quite a bit considering the company they keep. There is a wondrously nostalgic, dreamy quality to the band’s music, something ineffable that makes it at once familiar and striking.

With their debut full-length, 2003’s Lesser Matters, The Radio Dept. married a post-shoegaze sensibility with lo-fi drum machine beats and hazy vocal melodies. Pet Grief, their 2006 follow-up, moved into a cleaner production aesthetic and began leaning more toward an indie-electronic backbone. Four years later (and after a couple delays), the quartet finds themselves gearing up for a March release of Clinging to a Scheme, their third LP amid a slew of singles and EPs.

A few days ago, the band shared the album’s second track, “Heaven’s on Fire,” via their website. The song falls somewhere between the ground covered by its predecessor: the production hearkens back toLesser Matters‘ fuzzy, frayed around the edges aesthetic; however, the songwriting itself is firmly rooted in the poppier, more recent trend of singles like “David” and “We Made the Team.” St. Etienne’s So Tough notwithstanding, I’ve never been one for dialogue samples at the beginning of tracks–especially when they are inscrutable in their possible irony–so let’s gloss over the first few seconds of “Heaven’s on Fire” and get straight to the meat and potatoes.

The song commences with a simple, distorted synthesizer riff before suddenly chugging along courtesy of a dirty drum machine beat, willowy bassline, and guitar parts which intertwine like an effortless mating ritual. Later passages hang on a tender piano melody and the entirety of the song is suffused with a balmy, abstracted glow. The Radio Dept. are one of those acts who make the most of the atmosphere between their notes, and “Heaven’s on Fire” does a stellar job of constructing mood as much as melody. It’s refreshing, too, to witness a band continually refine their sound by degrees, not falling to the antipodal yet equally devastating snares of complacency or novelty for novelty’s sake. The Radio Dept.’s growth as artists has always felt organic–but just as importantly, it has always been a pleasure to experience.

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Rate It Here:  My ears, they bleed!Never againMehNot my thangOne listen is enoughGood, not greatWorth a listenPlaylist-worthyThis my jam!Songasm!!! (64 votes, average: 8.41 out of 10)


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. dommage Says:

    absolute songasm!

  2. treemeat Says:

    woo, thurston moore quote!

  3. Jobasi Stant Says:

    folks were talking about this over at the hunts website. it was beginning to develop into a hot topic.

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