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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Radio Therapy - Adjusted Frequency

Name: Radio Therapy
Album: Adjusted Frequency
Year: 2003
Style: Alt Pop-Rock, Jangle Pop
Similar Bands: Cure, Bowie, Hank Williams, Rentals, Young Fresh Fellows, Counting Crows, Joe Jack Talcum, Hootie & Blowfish, Barenaked Ladies.
"One Word" Review: local pub house band
Based Out Of: Bay City, Michigan
Label: self released
Adjusted Frequency - Cover, Insert Back, CD
Adjusted Frequency - Inner Notes, Back
Adjusted Frequency (2003)
  1. Say Hello 2:27
  2. Something to Believe 4:46
  3. Electric Life 2:49
  4. Partners in Crime 3:23
  5. She's Mine 3:44
  6. Bondage Love Song 3:21
  7. I Love You To Death 3:24
  8. My Blood is Red 5:42
  9. Last Night I Saw Your Ghost 3:33
  10. Fool Like Me 4:23
  11. Do You Wanna Live Forever 3:05
  12. Life on Planet Hell 3:44
  13. No More Sunshine 3:10
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Robert Atha - Lead Vox, Guitars, Producer, Mixing, Cover Photo (Round & a Distant Few, Screaming Casanovas. Fantastic Four, The Savior Machine)
John Cashman - Vox, Drums (Round & a Distant Few, Fantastic Four, The Savior Machine)
Kurt Cunningham - Lead Vox, Bass (Round & a Distant Few, Screaming Casanovas)
Tom Towns - Bass, Guitars (Round & a Distant Few, Fantastic Four, The Savior Machine)
Marko Musich - Guitar on "Say Hello"
Patrick Archer - Mixing
Jeremy Pawlak - Graphic Design, Back Cover Photo

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. But the production looks very DIY, from the color ink rubbing away on the crease, to the generic font on the mare-to-order CD, and crappy low-res band photo on the back. Knowing that this came from a friend's discarded selection makes me think that this will be some alt-pop-rock outfit, Perhaps some cheesy lyrics and straight forward chord progression. It does remind me of an early Sugarplastics record, so that is nostalgically promising.

Album Review: In the middle of the evolution of bands by the same core group of friends in Bay City, MI comes Radio Therapy. Incarnations came before it, and a majority of the members are currently working in The Savior Machine. The album here has been described as a compilation of the member’s influences, as it is not strictly pop, new wave or country, but a generous mix of all three at different times. Some songs are just good, and some songs are terrible. Also of note, John Cashman owns his own comic book shop, Cashman Comics, in Bay City.

“Say Hello” starts out with fuzzy glam guitar chords. The vocals are nasally and nerdy: A little like Joe Jack from Dead Milkmen. The straightforward alt-rock sound reminds me of the Rentals. They repeat the hook a little too much, even if the song is less than 2 and a half minutes.
“Something to Believe” has a Matthew Sweet-style guitar riff in the background, buried below the drum beat and muted vocals, that sound a little like Hootie & The Blowfish or stylistically like Blues Traveler. It just sounds poorly recorded, and jammy, with the rhythm guitar being the main focus.  
“Electric Life” has power pop hooks played in a fuzzy “alternative (Urge Overkill)” style. The vocals don’t feel all that confident, and the shaky performance seems to sap energy from the music. The lead guitar meanders around, just making a backdrop for the rhythm chords.
“Partners in Crime” starts with a jangly train tempo song. Then the slide guitar comes in the background, and between that and the melodies, this is the ham-bone slappin’ Alt-Country story-song the reviews promised.
“She's Mine” slows it down, still carries a jangly guitar, and features sympathetic harmonies. It is not really a slow dance song, rather, a thoughtful reflection with a steady, lazy pace. It feels like it could be on a Gin Blossoms record.
“Bondage Love Song” chugs right along energetically with the vocals, unfortunately, mixed down in the back. It has a very college radio, Lemonheads feel with fuzzy guitars and a simple-to-follow melody.
“I Love You To Death” was a parody of Oprah’s show about people who wanted to kill themselves after their loved ones left. It is a guitar heavy song pairing a fuzzed out constant guitar and a wah-wah lead guitar. It is a solid song with a template verse-chorus, but they flow nicely into each other, and it is playful and silly lyrically, as long as you don’t take the lyrics to heart personally. “I love you to death / I wanna blow my head off, maybe hang myself instead.”

“My Blood is Red” starts with a muted heart pulse drum beat, whiny vocals, and more jangly guitars. The tempo is slow and steady like “She’s Mine.” But there is a poor-man’s Counting Crows feel to the vocals here. This song is just really kinda bad, with a chord progression kind of like Bush’s “Glycerin.” And it is the longest song on the album.
“Last Night I Saw Your Ghost” starts with a water-echoy jam rhythm guitar. The vocals are harmonized sleepily. The song tries to kick in, and it just kind of hangs there, the vocals like a controlled, emotionless Dave Pirner. Also, the lead solo vocals sound a little like Barenaked Ladies.
“Fool Like Me” starts off as a pub / garage rock song featuring mini guitar solos and a side to side, yet driving tempo. The music teeters on aggressive, but the vocals bring it back to the harmless side. The end has a power drum finish in time with the guitars.
“Do You Wanna Live Forever” is more aggressive, as it is a faster, driving song with gradual chord shifts. The vocals are a little nasally and not very melodic. The repetitive chorus reminds me a little of Cheap Trick. The song winds down into a slightly chaotic bashing of instruments and warped guitars.
“Life on Planet Hell” starts out with a few power pop chords, and a bit of a Dramarama like presentation of vocals. Actually, as the song progresses, it feels like a Joe Dead Milkmen song: simple, a few chords and similar vocal delivery.
“No More Sunshine” is a jammy acoustic ballad, in the same vein as an alt-country Hootie song. That said, it’s no good.

Stand Out Track: I Love You To Death

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