The Next Hipster Magnets

White Faces (Independent)

The Radium Screen

By John Bohannon

In the new generation of the coffee-addicted, cornpipe-smoking, fast-paced hipster, the whole electronica/rock fusion thing that's been breaking ground has been the "thing" to listen to. Thus far, I have not bought into it or any of its gimmicks. It just seems to be dry and emotionless, not to mention the ever-annoying Gang of Four rip-offs with a touch of meaningless synth here and there.

Usually, New Albany band The Radium Screen's new EP White Faces would be the epitome of everything that I loathe in music - but on this particular day it has quite struck my fancy. The band's tracks come off sounding effortless yet extremely tight in composition, with layer after layer to make it a bit more on the intriguing side - something I have yet to find within this genre of music. With lyricism that reminds of the likes of Robert Smith into the vocal stylings of an angry Interpol without the crying dramatics, this has grown into quite the mix. Although at times it's a little too along the lines of Franz Ferdinand (and that could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your stance) but for the most part it delivers catchy pop hooks fused with feet-shuffling electronic beats.

The opener, "Dirty Blonde," actually set me on the path of thinking, "Oh no, here we go again" - and honestly by the end of it, it made me want to throw the CD in the paper shredder for the hope of the grinding noise might be better. But by the luck of me getting up to get a cup of tea, I was delighted to come back to what I honestly thought was a completely different band on the album's second track, "Amen." Drawing together samples and a dismal percussive element, the track brewed into something that made me suddenly want to join the gothic community and pretend to be mysterious. It almost straight up reminded me of what might happen if Robert Smith and TV on the Radio's fanbase decided to make a band.

"She Stands" is the best track on this EP by a landslide. The resonating guitars and the heavily reverberating vocals could make your typical indie snob smile when no one is looking. The repeated lyric "It's all for you" weaves in and out of the mix without ever growing a bit tired, surprisingly enough. The final track, "Blood Song," takes a minimal approach to the creative process with droning keyboard riffs and a never-changing electronic drum pulse. Not the greatest of attempts considering the lead singer pulls the repeating lyric effort again halfway through the track, leaving you to wonder if he just ran out of ideas.

Although The Radium Screen only grabbed my attention on half of the four-song EP, I promise it stands for something. When you convert a non-believer of a music genre into a believer, it is quite a feat in itself. If these cats continue to make music the way they do and keep letting their sound mature, they might have themselves a spot among the pitchfork crazies nationwide.

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