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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Read Yellow
Radios Burn Faster
Fenway Recordings

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
It's easy for bands to lose focus and become recycled rather than reborn. The good intentions are there, and more often than not, originality is a sidetrack to what is needed for a proper sequence of sounds. To get it right, bands often use studio wizardry or perhaps a famed producer, or maybe it has a lot to do with dumb luck. Read Yellow have just subscribed to the few bands who have attained a multitude of each, but this time around not only does their originality seem to shine through, with their first record Radios Burn Faster, their influences casually materialize through a focused and procurable album. It has just given me hope for the next generation of rock n rollers. Not only do they incorporate the intense angular and effervescent sounds that I have come to love from bands like Trail of Dead and Drive Like Jehu by adding moments of pure chaos, Read Yellow tears the flesh with ear piercing feedback so thick Sonic Youth would become red with modesty and shame. Much of Radios Burn Faster is about dense scores rather than just plain ol' rock songs; the band adds drowning guitars, huge in scope, and then layers them amongst heavy rhythms and shouted vocals.

Read Yellow works well even under a microscopic ear, partially due to the fact that Paul Kolderie (Pixies, Morphine, Radiohead) produced, and it shows. The thick wall of distortion and bulky drum beats clearly identify Read Yellow as extremists, firmly built on the church of loud as shit. Read Yellow bombard us from the get-go with "Association". Sounding like an angry Foo Fighter, drummer Paul Koelle starts the song off with a thud, pounding his toms in a sonic percussion pile-up, mixing straight forward rhythm punk chord progressions with a fierce Jehu-esqe lead by guitarists/vocalists Even Kenney and Jesse Vuona. The song is very similar to what you might expect on the new Trail of Dead record - even when the vocals kick in, Evan sings in his best Conrad Keely impression, singing at first, then shouting his way through the remainder of the track. The band adds gusts of guitar lines throughout the song making it more of a composition rather than "the first song on Radios Burn Faster".

Time has been taken to commit to a production and it shows in most of what they present to you, as is the case with "Model America". Again, drums start things off, then a bass line. When the guitar finally enters the mix, you realize once again that an obtrusive song arrangement is staring you down and waiting for you to loose your grip. Harmonics ring on top of heavy guitars and that distinct drum sound - the one that has already beaten you down once before - will yet again. I will say that, this time around, the vocal delivery is less mesmerizing than what was heard with "Association". It seems Evan got a little lazy in his unstructured melody. The repetitiveness of his lyrics become too much through the first few minutes of the song and tends to be a bit cramped. The good news is, the band is adequate with the last minute and well worth the wait. Guitars attack every end of your internal perception, through recognition and appreciation of well-thought-out duel guitar sequences and a meaty drum build. You'll hear more about this later.

The third track, "Art", is more of the same, but this time around the ending becomes even more ambitious. Majestic guitar treatments are formed and arranges at excessive decibels, swelling in a network of crashing symbols, ending two minutes later with the simple hum of a guitar. It's a very dramatic end to an overall electrifying song arrangement.

The most stunning piece comes mid-way through the album with "Modern Phobias". This track is one of the loudest songs I have ever heard. It starts off with what sounds like a chainsaw, but I am told that it is in fact a guitar, so brutally heavy it makes the Melvin's sound like Bachman Turner Overdrive. Once the song starts it doesn't let go of you through the entire three and a half minutes of non stop bombardment -hammering guitar lines that speed through like the release of mechanical energy caused by a sudden explosion capable turning your seat of consciousness into a clamorous and violent pulp. It's exasperating the way the song beguiles you into its marrow, as the it ends in a swarming surge of impenetrable feedback. In addition, things do get shaken up a bit with "Static" and "Solely" which both feature vocals from bassist Michelle Kay. She doesn't posses the most desirable voice, but it happens to fit well with the backdrop the boys in the band are providing.

Read Yellow seem to possess superiority in a number of ways. Their strengths lie in their authority and control - their power to prevail and outweigh others trying to do the same thing. They've accomplished plenty in just three years - they have shared the stage with the Trail of Dead, The Rapture and Mission of Burma. They have a created an impassioned debut record lead by a highly prominent producer, and they have won me over as a notable force in underground rock, requesting my presence at their throne of guitar driven sovereignty.

Reviewed by Mark Taylor
A senior LAS staff writer, Mark Taylor is a 29 year old father of a 5 year old son and husband to a wife of 6 years, living the simple life in a small suburb of Charlotte, NC.

See other reviews by Mark Taylor



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