Written By Maria Arroyo
Coming straight out of Philadelphia is an alternative rock punk band, Fire In The Radio, who have just released their latest album, Monuments. The band is made up of vocalists and guitarists Richard Carbone and Jonathan Miller, bassist Ed Olsen, and drummer Adam Caldwell. They describe their sound like a “unique brand of indie-punk in a fresh direction incorporating elements of new wave, grunge, and shoegaze drone into tightly crafted pop songs.”
The opening track, “Let’s Get to the Start,” hits listeners with the large rock sound and high energy. This is the biggest theme throughout the entire album. The rhythm is constant and the song is straight forward, which can also be said for the next song, “Gravity.” The only distinction is that “Gravity” has a little more of a punk and grunge feel to it, and a little more of a dirtier sound. There’s more of a focus on changing up the dynamics in the next songs. “Tulare” and “Rewind” both have a little more suspension and change in dynamics, which make the song go somewhere. There was also a sense of vulnerability in “Rewind” that had been lacking in the other songs.
Their next song, “Ex-SF,” has the catchiest chorus of the album. Aside from a few moments, a lot of the songs seem to be at the same level volume-wise, so there’s no specification on what the focus should be when the vocals aren’t there. When a mix stays in the same level volume-wise, it’s hard to tell where those climax points are. Something I noticed that seemed to be a comfort zone for them is the use of power chords.
“Sunday Cassock,” for example, continues with the same rhythmic pattern that is used excessively throughout, so it gets to the point where the songs started to mesh together. There wasn’t a lot of differentiation between the rhythmic playing styles to keep things diverse. While they do this very well, eventually the songs begin to sound too similar.
I start to hear some differentiation between the songs when I hear “This is My Document.” The feelings are a little more intimate and his vocals are a little more intriguing. He showcases a different side of his voice that we haven’t heard in the previous songs. There’s a softer approach throughout the song, and it really diversified the sound that they had initially, which made for a nice surprise.
“Breaking” showcased an incredible melodic structure that stuck with me that I wish would have been showcased earlier in the album.
Their last song “Save Me” brought forth some more dynamic contrasts in the vocals that I really loved. Most of the vocals have a darker tone to them, but in this song, his tone was much brighter and a lot more present than in their other songs. That brighter sound in his voice made for a much more enjoyable listen.
Fire in the Radio has a great set of work to really showcase Philadelphia talent. Whether it’s exposing themselves to different music or trying different musical writing styles, I think some sort of new inspirations can really push them out of their comfort zone and bring their already fire energy even higher!
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