When I first saw Radio 4 live two years ago in good ‘ol Lawrence, Kansas, I immediately fell for their crashing vocals and relentlessly catchy instrumentals, which were also savvy enough to capture the audience crammed into a teeny hall bar called the Jackpot Saloon. Like many, I was drawn to the “Party Crashers” and “No Reaction” that were virally making their way via hand-to-hand. Afterwards, I met up briefly with guitarist Tommy Williams, who gladly handed me a copy of Stealing Of A Nation, while his friend jokingly added that someone needed to stop him from giving away the CDs.
Having caught their show in my hometown sweetly sealed the deal for an indie band I was glad to have in my back pocket. Two years later, Radio 4 (named after a Public Image song) is set to release Enemies Like This, the fourth project and first for David Milone, new guitarist and replacement for Williams. What once seemed to be straight, dub reggae inspired dance-punk for Radio 4 has now morphed into a sharper rendition of civically charged shots and embraceable funk on the new record, which covers topics from Hurricane Katrina and the military to such simple thangs as matters of the heart. Frontman Anthony Roman commented that he “was very into the idea that a political song could be a love song in disguise or vice versa.” Much so is the song, “Grass Is Greener,” with its mercurial undertones and reverb (“and the grass is always greener where she lays”). “Enemies Like This” discusses the similarities between the “ally” and the “enemy”, while “This Is Not A Test” hooks with its tribal drums and kinks. “Always A Target” also features a guitar collaboration with LCD Soundsystem’s Phil Morrison.
Radio 4 returns with the stamina of yesterday’s post-punk, noted successors of ’90s Long Island hardcore and Clash slash Gang of Four inspired notions. The new record will not only nudge you to the floor, but will have you throwing caution to the wind and your arms in the air.