The zany artistry that animates Radical Dads’ friendship also serves as the primary inspiration for their energetic music. The Brooklyn band’s sophomore album, Rapid Reality, warps the nostalgia of ’90s indie rock while, as they imagine, “smothering [listeners] with atomic kisses from a radioactive puppy.” Though their playful attitude hasn’t changed, their music has evolved into a fearless variety of sounds.
Their 2011 debut, Mega Rama, came coated in a shoegaze flavor, rich in swirling flanger effects and dreamy vocal croons, but Rapid Reality stomps on the distortion pedal instead. The band zigzags through low-fi exploration with a crunch, reaching new heights as Lindsay Baker yells defiantly above the chord structures of “Rapid Reality”. Album curveball “Dust USA” features a Kim Gordon-like vocal hum while both guitars break through atonal walls with an intensity “enough to bury both of us.”
Radical Dads also breaks away from the rubble to reveal a soothing sensitivity at the record’s core. Baker’s vocals are amplified with clean harmonies alongside soft instrumental dressing. Just as Mega Rama‘s “Hurricane” lifts dynamics to make hearts race in fear of natural disaster, “Hi Desert” coasts along barren tones with lyrics attempting to capture one of the band’s imaginative scenarios.
One example, as they as they explained to Smashed Chair, is “when you’re in the desert and it’s nighttime and you’ve lost your horse and you’re desperately seeking water and your lips are dry and cracked and the wind finally calms down and the gila monster herd somehow ignored you and you’re still alive and the only thing you can hear is your heart’s outer wall slapping against your ribcage.”
Such creative strides show that Radical Dads have, once again, increased the scope of their ambition. Rapid Reality is an impressive series of adventures that is easy to dream within while rocking harder than ever.
Essential Tracks: “Rapid Reality”, “Dust USA”