Danger Radio - Punch Your Lights Out
Record Label: Photo Finish Records
Release Date: January 29, 2008
The Seattle, Washington area is the birthplace of grunge. With bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney, Seattle became known as the city that put “heavy metal” to rest, banishing Gene Simmons and Bret Michaels to eventually find new work, even if it was on VH1. The grunge movement set Seattle up as a city that would specialize in alternative music, eventually birthing bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate and Minus the Bear. The newest addition to this alternative hotbed call themselves Danger Radio, a funk infused six-piece who, as their bio states, “are one nation under a groove.” And groove is right—so right that I actually did something I rarely do: I sent out a myspace bulletin plugging them.
The band’s sophomore EP, entitled Punch Your Lights Out, is hardly what I expected it to be. Recently I’ve heard so many bands who claim to be doing something new and fresh that I’ve become jaded (oh geez, I just made an Aerosmith reference) to their false attributions. However, Punch Your Lights Out woke me up and taught me how to dance.
The first track “Party Foul,” wastes no time in setting up the groove. Vocalist Andrew de Torres has a distinct voice that reminds me of Ryan Hunter of Envy on the Coast, and yet the song still reminds me of the old school funk that took that nation by storm in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, complete with wah-laden guitar licks and dance beats. The bridge, however, seems to be somewhat sloppy, but is immediately forgotten once Andy Brookins rips off a solo that would make Eddie Van Halen crack a grin. Following in the footsteps of “Party Foul” is “Slow,” which is much more passive than the former, offering a more mature “club” feel with keyboard at the forefront and then transitioning into an extremely hooky chorus, a technique used liberally on the album. “Keep It Up,” continues to hold to my attention with an electronicized bass line and hand claps before entering another catchy chorus, and then going into somewhat of a breakdown, which again showcases Brookins’ and Wright’s skill with their guitars. “Sparkle Baby Shine” is canvassed with lounge themed attributes; from running keyboard lines to subtle cowbell. The coolest part of the song, however, is the reggae interlude. I’ve heard some bands try to do reggae who haven’t been to successful, but Danger Radio pull it off professionally, with accents from steel drums to bongos.
The album comes to a close with the title track, enamored with 70’s style keyboard and a groovy bass line. The most cynical track on the album, the song still boasts a wonderfully delicate interlude with impressive back-up vocals.
In all honesty, I would never dare to lump Danger Radio in the same category as Sunny Day Real Estate and Nirvana for fear of retribution from my contemporaries. The truth is Danger Radio are alternative and are cunning enough to mold music that is not only extremely catching and enjoyable, but also pushes the creative envelope. Out of all the tired people in this music scene, I’m probably the most tired; I’m sick hearing the same rehashed crap pushed in front of me from bands who aren’t talented and smart enough to understand the concept of songwriting. Danger Radio, however, show wisdom beyond their age and have lead me to believe that the future of music is bright, whether it comes from one of the rainiest regions of the country or not.