If the band does not have a Franz Ferdinand album amongst the two of them, I would be surprised. A heavy electronic focus mixes with an angular sound to make something that is danceable while being aloof at the same time. However, this is not always the fancy free sound of Franz Ferdinand, as tracks like “Amen” has a darker, Ministry-like feel. The vocals are the same through the first few tracks, but the compositions have a completely different approach. One just waits for Brian and Aaron to bust forth with impassioned industrial music, but The Radium Screen holds back the fury for longer than most bands would normally be able.
This maturity makes for a track that is tempered much like the finest steel, and benefits individuals much more than a track that moves back and forth in a dark/light dichotomy. The style of The Radium Screen shifts again for the penultimate track “She Stands”. By far the longest track of the EP, “She Stands” uses repetition and ghostly vocals to elicit a cold sound to the track. In what would be a perfect dance track for those mopey individuals in society, The Radium Screen drive home a rhythm that is no less catchy than anything on the Billboard dance top 20. The band’s overall sound brightens up for “Blood Song”; this may just be the farthest that The Radium Screen moves away from any specific sound and approach their own style.
There are hints of eighties dance with the current Bravery type of sound that is dominant, with the result being a vocal-dominant track that will appease listeners of all stripes. One of the things that must be understood when individuals are listening to “White Faces” is that the synthesizers and drum machines that are so prevalent at all stages of this EP are not Brian or Aaron’s main instruments; what they show by moving from their native guitars to these instruments is an understanding of the structures and arrangements that work in popular music. Thus, “White Faces” is a fun disc even if it is four or five songs too short; here’s to hoping that The Radium Screen does not take quite as long to commit an LP to vinyl than it took them to create this EP (four years from founding to finished product). Just give them a little while longer and there is a good chance that their tracks will be spun at the local dance club.
Top Track: Blood Song
The Radium Screen – White Faces / 2006 LaLaLa Records / 4 Tracks / http://www.theradiumscreen.com / http://www.myspace.com/theradiumscreen / Reviewed 14 March 2006