: Comfort For Change
Title: Radio Therapy
Basics: It's quite odd that a Phoenix band would offer up an album that was released in 1999 for review.
Wait, what's that? The album was released just recently? Wow, you could have fooled me.
Radio Therapy (or Radiotherapy, that is still ambiguous since it loaded up as two words when I opened the album in iTunes yet is labeled as one word in various other accounts) sounds like an album with tons of edge and ingenuity if the impending doom of Y2K were still on everyone's minds. Moving beyond the cliched, stagnant genre of music Comfort For Change plays (emo, pop punk), the band has a polished sound and Radio Therapy proves that. The band has chops and can rip into a song -- unfortunately the style of whatever song they play was mercilessly beat to death right around 2002.
Best Song: "My Greatest Role" does its damnedest to sound not like a shitty pop-punk song as any on the album. It starts off mellow enough, but as I first listened to the song I said to myself, "Wait for the goddamn guitar to kick in... there it is. Great." What starts off as a different, toned down offering soon gives way to standard emo/pop punk guitars and drums, not to mention lead singer Richard Carlise's spot-on vocals -- I say "spot-on" because his vocals are what dooms this album to sound like boring pop-punk released about eight years ago. That being said, the song is somewhat enjoyable in a tumultuous sea of teenage angst and glorious emo sentiments.
Worst Song: "Lips That Cut" has a title that condemns the song right away, but don't let the name take credit for the song's overall crappiness. The song sounds like the hordes of other pop-punk, emo garbage that flooded the airwaves in the early 2000's. It wasn't a whole lot of fun to have to deal with that crap then, and it boggles my mind as to how bands can still record albums full of this genre in 2010. Sure, emo-riffic pop-punk is fun to play and all, and your fan base will love you for articulating what it's like to be a 14-year-old struggling with an identity crisis because their stepdad is a total dickhead, but there's got to be some middle ground somewhere. Music evolves over time -- it doesn't just feed off of whatever genre was the most popular 10 years ago.
Suggestions: Listen to whatever rock music is popular right now. This thing called "indie rock" came along and became quite popular, thus making emo music sound childish and kind of silly in nature. I know there is a comfort zone with emo/pop punk music, but making good, quality music should be about getting outside that comfort zone and experimenting with different sounds. Your fans might not like it, but you'd be surprised at the respect and admiration you'd receive from other musicians, critics and, perhaps, new fans.
If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85032