The Radio Dept. is fuzzy but exquisite on Clinging to a Scheme

In a shocking turn of events, this review is heading to… SWEDEN! Okay fine, we (I) may overdo the Swedish stuff a bit on Knox Road (I know, impossible), but the music is so damn good. The Radio Dept. mostly affirms that on Clinging to a Scheme, only their third full-length despite originally forming in 1995. After singles “Heaven’s On Fire” and “Never Follow Suit”, The Radio Dept. became front-runners for my preemptive album-of-the-year-before-the-release-of-High Violet-(which I am still waiting to listen to by the way)based-only-off-preview-singles. Whew. Got that? Okay, let’s carry on.

My expectations may have been slightly too high (those two songs are the clear standouts), but I’ll be damned if Clinging to a Scheme isn’t a slice of pristine pop. It’s ridiculously smooth, even with all the sporadically strewn samples. The electronica comes off oh so cohesively, expertly mixing and matching bells, strings, whistles, keys, synth, and more. All of which is influenced by a semi-classical/jazzy feel and lies underneath Duncansonn’s heavenly vocals. While the vocals are very much produced to match the sound, it accomplishes exactly that, acting as an excellent complement to the hazy background fuzz. At times the fuzz can be bothersome as it’s present on most every song  — we rarely get a break. The overused sound lends a small dullness to the record, but luckily it doesn’t run too long and overstay its welcome; Clinging to a Scheme is only 10 songs long, with each track running under 4:30.

The album is able to vary it up with its elaborate electronica, so despite more of the same in terms of production quality, the sounds themselves are quite fascinating. With a pleasing ebb and flow during singular songs and bright instrumental interludes, Clinging to a Scheme ultimately manages to keep us engaged throughout. Which is a good thing, because these guys are certainly worth our time.

The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s on Fire” [MP3]

The Radio Dept. – “David” [MP3]

Purchase Clinging to a Scheme

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