For a band that can’t seem to decide if it wants to be glam or punk just as long as it stays in 1990, This Is Radio Freedom pack a lot that’s fresh into this short release. These musicians love their Echo and the Bunnymen and anthemic rock, but nothing here sounds derivative. (Although three mixes of "Family Man" — a fast, driving tune that morphs into disco on the retreads — may be a bit much.)
Early tracks are more rock oriented, and the slightly alt-rock-radio vocals don’t distract from the edginess of “Bomb Threat,” “Lady Lucifer” or “Sleep It Off.” The plainitve folky “Not For You” especially resonates: Its sleepy tale of the songs we return for comfort is one that many of us know intimately.
Vocalist Matt Rimmer and company talk a lot about their heroes, their causes and their passions for social change. Wisely, they have not chosen to burden their humble little rock record with all that baggage. This Is Radio Freedom has fire and anger and hope, but the band lets the music do the talking. What could have been preachy or earnest comes across as honest and confident. For now, it seems, a set of rocking, literate tunes will do.