The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme


Sweden’s The Radio Dept. released their second record, Clinging to a Scheme, earlier this year. It’s full of slightly out of focus indie-pop that thrives on lush musical settings and gorgeous melodies. Besides the immediacy of the Jackson 5-by-way-of-Slumberland Records first single “Heaven’s On Fire”, Clinging to a Scheme is a record that benefits greatly from repeat listens and louder volumes. The rest of these songs are the sort that burrow into your head gradually – I’ve had this album since last spring and it’s only in the past 2 or 3 weeks that it’s kind of emerged, to me, as one of the year’s easiest albums to go back to over and again. That could be because it works as a great melodic counter-point to the noise and chaos of Public Strain, another new one that I’ve been listening to a lot, but is more likely the result of the obvious care that has gone into the craft of these 10 songs.

There are a handful of nearly-as-great as “Heaven’s On Fire” skewed-pop songs on the decidedly more accessible first half, such as the slow-burning opener “Domestic Scene” or the deceptively grand “This Time Around”. “A Token of Gratitude” later works as a brilliant bridge towards the record’s back half – beginning with what sounds like a ping-pong beat and featuring a few startling lines about love being “easy come, easy go”, it quickly downgrades into a moody, ambient instrumental coda. This sonic shift is reflected by the more melancolic, yet equally beautiful, songs that show up on the flip side. Fans have found some similarities between The Radio Dept. and Wild Nothing, another band that released a similar set of indie-pop this year. I don’t want to slag them – Jack Tatum’s bedroom-pop vehicle showed great promise on his very well-received (if slightly overrated) debut, Gemini – but Clinging to a Scheme is clearly the better record. If you haven’t caught on yet, well, like me, better late than never.

MP3 :: Heaven’s On Fire

MP3 :: David

(from Clinging to a Scheme. Buy here)

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3 comments:

scott pgwp said...

This is among my favorite albums of the year, easy.

This is actually their third album, not their second. I only point this out because their first, Lesser Matters, is a stone cold classic, and it would be a shame if you didn't know about it. It's more a guitar pop record and less electronic, but it's still very hazy and sounds like the same band. Definitely worth searching out asap.

James said...

thanks scott - I'll have to look into that.

good luck with your book!

scott pgwp said...

Thanks!