Thursday, January 7, 2016
Listen: Radiation City - "Juicy"
Portland's Radiation City has always seemed to exist at a sort of musical nexus point - their influences and interests varied enough that the resulting tangle is largely undefinable. One part sensual doo wop croon, one part infectious minimal electro pop, Radiation City has more or less made a career out of blurry the boundaries and retracing the lines between retro and future pop and "Juicy", the lead single from their upcoming third album Synesthetica, falls deeper down that rabbit hole.
Lyrically Radiation City has always veered on the side of the surreal - placing their narratives either as further away from the sudden collapse of realism or right at the precipice as they see fit, all the while setting them in catchy pop dressings and a casual delivery that belies the some absolutely bonkers developments.
Considering it's expansive build, it's hard to imagine "Juicy" as anything but an album opener yet it's the second track and a very obvious album standout. "Pay your payment to me" Lizzy Ellison drawls out honey sweet and slow as molasses and it's enough to instantly hook you. The lyrics are only half the journey as they do very little to quell the questions raised by Ellison's sultry entrance. "Juicy" is Radiation City at their most blatantly pop and it's incredible. Ellison's vocals have always elevated their songs to absolute showstoppers but on "Juicy" each part works in tandem - the layered harmonies, those dirty rock & roll guitar riffs, hard-hitting drums all arranged on a floor of synths that occasionally whip up into ornaments flares. Lyrically "Juicy" arouses the appetite only you leave you wanting more but compositionally it's a pitch perfect work of songcraft - gathering up the potential energy from its continuous ebb and flow before converting it into a climactic explosion.
Radiation City's third album Synesthetica is out February 12th on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order the album on digital, CD, cassette or limited edition white LP here.