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Album Review

Radkey – Dark Black Makeup

Radkey Dark Black Makeup

A confident, self-assured debut.

Label: Strange Loop Records
Released: 21st August 2015

Rating: ★★★★

It’s forgivable to hear the slick production and brooding vocals of Dee Radke on the opening title-track and assume that Radkey are a band far older than the reality shows. Touring for years, the three teen brothers who put together fun tracks and permeated a raucous live energy are now just offering up a debut album, and regardless of the still tender age, with two just into their twenties, it already feels about time.

‘Romance Dawn’ snarls and shifts tempos like it’s going out of fashion, ‘Love Spills’ is punky at the off but fuses a bluesy twang to throw the listener off. ‘Glore’ is their ‘Ace of Spades’, frenzied and furious, capturing their live shows in one explosive burst. Their playful nature sees unpredictable twists thrown in without second thought; the famed Misfits-y sludge underpins much of the album.

In delving into discomfort, from jealousy to obsession, they raise their maturity levels further, steeped in lyricism that can range from the childish, repetitive taunts of “Na na na” to more uncomfortable offerings. There’s a lethargy throughout; at times it feels a relaxed confidence, but others it can be noticeably jarring and see tracks reclining so far they’re practically asleep.

“I’m a lazy dropout,” they boldly declare on ‘Song of Solomon’, a punk ambush that captures the exciting energy that set them apart on stages across the country. “I’m a let-down, dropout.” Let-downs they are not. What started out as brotherly boredom and garage jams has turned into a band performing years ahead of their time, with past influences teaming with their life experience of going from home-schooling to the wide world on the road. A confident, self-assured debut. Heather McDaid