Summer Loop by Radiation FlowersRelease date: July 7, 2017
Label: Cardinal Fuzz
Summer Loop, the second album from Saskatoon band Radiation Flowers builds on an already impressive debut release, and along with a split with Hawkeyes, marks a great year for them. Taking their shoegaze sound and imbuing it with a hefty dose of psychedelia, Shelby Gaudet (vocals/guitar), Amber Ross (drums), Christopher Laramee (guitar) and Jay Allen (bass), have augmented their sound with the addition of Lucas Goedtz on keyboards, taking a much more focused and harder sound forward from their debut album.
The new, heavier sound is recognisable from opener ‘Just Go Away’, who’s ominous rumble only fails to ignite through being slightly eager to get out the blocks. It’s a bit of a red herring though as from here on in the band settle into a sublime mix of psych-gaze which gets better as the album progresses. By mid point of second track, ‘Walking Down The Street’, their mesmerising sound overcomes your senses as it undulates through its various crescendos. It’s the sound of being soothed, yet behind it is a ferocious roar of guitars, bass and keyboards, all brought to life by Shelby Gaudet’s glorious vocals.
It’s the vocals that set this album apart from much other bands of a similar ilk. Rather than being submerged within the mix, they stand out as a prime component, leading u’s ever on through the swirl of noise that envelopes you as the band increase their wall of sound. Colours’ is a perfect example as its fairground swirl turns to white noise, whilst over the top, hypnotic vocals cut through. It’s a signature sound which impresses much during the New Order like synth epic of ‘Sunrise’, a song which sounds like the beginning of Autumn after the monstrous ‘Summer Of Burnout’, a song designed to make your ears melt from its glorious psychedelia. It’s a beast of a track which uses metronomic drumbeats to push forward the cavalcade of noise and whilst it may stick firmly to the archetypal shoe-gaze sound, all the right buttons are pressed to make this something quite remarkable.
That the band can switch easily from huge riff laden walls of sound to more delicate fare is a sign that they are comfortable within themselves to explore the boundaries of their genre. This bodes well for the future and we may yet see Radiation Flowers taking their place in the pantheon of great bands. They have a secret weapon with Gaudet and added to the arsenal of guitars, synths and drums, they create a formidable, beautiful sound. If you enjoyed the split with Hawkeyes then you will fall in love with this album. It’s the sound of a band coming into their own and finding their feet, and this makes for a rather exciting album.