Radar Bros

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Radar Bros , 5/10
The Singing Hatchet , 6/10
And The Surrounding Mountains , 5/10
The Fallen Leaf Pages (2005), 5/10
Auditorium (2008), 6/10
Dengue Fever: Dengue Fever (2003), 4.5/10
Dengue Fever: Escape From Dragon House (2005), 6.5/10
Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth (2008), 6/10
The Illustrated Garden (2010) , 4.5/10

The Radar Bros are a Los Angeles trio, led by former Medicine's guitarist Jim Putnam, that plays melancholy, mildly psychedelic, folk-pop in the vein of Red House Painters and Idaho, enhanced with subtle jamming a` la Low. But Radar Bros (Restless, 1996) is too relaxed, to the point of becoming anemic and apathic. There is no life in the self-indulgent, sparse mourning of Lose Your Face Again and Capital Gain, occasionally even sliding into late Pink Floyd's torpor. The vocals imitate Robert Wyatt's dreamy falsetto, but without the emotional appeal.

Vastly improved arrangements (bordering on the orchestral) make The Singing Hatchet (See Thru Broadcasting, 1999) less of a bore, but Putnam is still lacking good songs to start with and Dark Side of the Moon-period Pink Floyd still haunt most of the songs.

Unfortunately, And The Surrounding Mountains (Merge, 2002) returns to the "alt country" dimension. Except for the relatively upbeat Mountains and a few dreadful interferences between Mersey-beat and sweet soul (Sisters), the songs whine along trapped in that "My voice sounds like Roger Waters" universe (You And The Father, Morning Song).

The Fallen Leaf Pages (Merge, 2005) is not much more musical than its predecessors. Jim Putnam's songwriting and his delivery are certainly decent (see Faces Of The Damned), but he belongs to a generation of egocentric songwriters who think that any thought they set to music must be worth listening to. Mostly, it isn't, no matter how clever it is.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Mattia Gobbi)

I Radar Bros sono un trio di Los Angeles, capitanati da Jim Putnam (già chitarrista dei Medicine) che suona un malinconico folk-pop tinto di psichedelia nello stile di Red House Painters e Idaho, arricchiti da raffinate improvvisazioni alla Low. Ma Radar Bros (Restless, 1996) è un disco troppo rilassato, al punto di diventare anemico e apatico. Non c'è vita nel rammarico dispersivo e autocompiaciuto di Lose your face again e Capital gain, che a volte scivola nel torpore degli ultimi Pink Floyd. La voce imita il falsetto trasognato di Robert Wyatt, ma senza la stessa attrazione emotiva.

Arraggiamenti molto migliorati (al limite dell'orchestrale) rendono The singing hatchet (See thru Broadcasting, 1999) meno noioso, ma a Putnam mancano ancora buoni brani in apertura e i Pink Floyd di Dark side of the moon continuano a farsi sentire nella maggior parte delle canzoni.

And the surrounding mountains (Merge, 2002) torna, sfortunatamente, nell'ambito dell "alt-country". A parte la relativamente allegra Mountains e qualche terribile interferenza tra Mersey-beat e sweet soul (Sisters), le canzoni gemono intappolate in un complesso da "la mia voce sembra quella di Roger Waters" (You and the father, Morning song).

The Fallen Leaf Pages (Merge, 2005) non è molto più musicale dei suoi predecessori. Jim Putnam scrive e arrangia le canzoni in modo certamente apprezzabile (vedi Faces of the damned) ma appartiene a una generazione di cantautori egocentrici che pensano valga la pena di ascoltare ogni pensiero che mettono in musica. La maggior parte delle volte non è così, a prescindere dall'intelligenza della riflessione.

Auditorium (Merge, 2008) fares better mainly because it broadens the palette towards a more psychedelic ecstasy.

The Radar Brothers' bassist Senon Williams also plays in Dengue Fever (with Cambodian vocalist Chhom Nimol, Dieselhed's guitarist Zac Holtzman, Beck's saxophonist David Ralicke, keyboardist Ethan Holtzman, drummer Paul Smith), who debuted with Dengue Fever (Web of Mimicry, 2003), mostly centered on the vocals and with a repertory largely drawn from Cambodian pop. The combo's mission became more focused with Escape From Dragon House (2005), a nostalgic fusion of world-music and psychedelic-rock of the Sixties. Venus on Earth (2008) was basically its radio-friendly version.

The Radar Brothers' Jim Putnam launched a new career as Mt Wilson Repeater with the more electronic Mt Wilson Repeater (2008).

The Illustrated Garden (2010) signaled that the Radar Brothers were becoming an empty vessel. Eight (Merge Records, 2013) contains the catchy If We Were Banished.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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