The boys in the Radical Sons are pretty smart. Before you can harp on the just-post-teenaged quartet for being a shameless throwback to nervy, NYC-centric proto-punk (and its early-'00s acolytes like the Strokes), it's beaten you to the punch with "I'm So Sick of the 21st Century." In the song, singer Ben Goldstein calls bullshit on himself for "feeling nostalgic for things I've never known." Well played, young man. The track leads off the Sons' debut EP (released on Secretly Canadian affiliate St. Ives), and the disc's four other songs convey the band's adroitness at playing the musically uncomplicated, but sonically satisfying bare-bones guitar rock.
The Radical Sons' twin-guitar lineup allows for the interplay between lackadaisical strums, inventive leads and the occasional bit of stop-start dynamics. The guitars are mostly played without much adornment, letting the amplifier's natural distortion give a little crunch and bite (as on the tail end of "Planes and Trains"). This leaves plenty of room for Goldstein's boho drawl, which settles in the space between '66 Bob Dylan and '67 Lou Reed. On the title track, however, he drops the detachment and lets the quick, syncopated guitar strokes lift his vocals above the din, showing the group's more playful sideshow. Moments like this suggest that the band should embrace the flush of their youth and let the sun shine in their eyes before putting the dark sunglasses back on. Now that would be radical...or, at the very least, rad.
Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail email@example.com for more information.