The last month has seen us check out some pretty outlandish, abstract and noisy releases, so it’s strange to say that Living In A Radio City has felt refreshing to listen to, considering it offers little more than any other modern day alternative artist out there. But on the plus, Cross Wires have something decent going on here.
When it comes to the more common sounds, and these days any band that labels themselves as punk, most of what I have heard over the last couple of years tends to sound drab. That’s probably because my expectations are still too high thanks to the delights we received in the 80s and 90s that I still give regular play to. That said, the pleasantries on offer here will add a spring to your ears and keep your interest through the short course of this album.
Briefly mentioning and moving on from the fact that this is another 8-track album (seriously, what’s with this trend? (poor editorial double bracket usage – as I’m about to post this I realise this is being sold as a mini-album, so will let them off here)), Living In A Radio City delivers brighter elements of modern alternative/indie but with the edge and impact of a solid punk rock release. Predominantly clean guitars strumming out some bright melodies backed by more complex drum rhythms and a roughed up bass combine to create something less stand out but with plenty to get your ears around. The vocals steal most of the presence with the soft reverb and crunch to them, ultimately giving Cross Wires that notable aura that seems to be a thing with alternative bands these days.
The stand out track, I Want Radio, offers the most infectious of the choruses and is the most likely candidate for inclusion in any of your playlists (assuming that’s also still thing that people do these days). The other tracks aren’t too far behind the high bar this song sets, with the strong opener, We Call The Shots, adding a bit of a classic rock ‘n’ roll twinge to things, the more frantic Fanzines sounding a bit more like something The Hives would bang out, and Slow Waves with its more prominent fuzzy bass line.
Although not the artsy release that warrants your attention to pick out all of the subtle elements and layers, the more technical drum beats and some of the enjoyable riffs can get lost in the mix if you are just throwing this album on in the background. Although this is not necessarily a gripe, as the overall balance works on the whole, you will want to invest your full attention to really appreciate what Cross Wires have to offer.
There’s not much to say as for recommendations. Check out I Want Radio for sure, and if you like, get the album. Simple as (could have just left the review at that sentence but what kind of site would this be if we cut those kinds of corners?)
Jake Hancke – 10/03/2018