Note: If you don't like bands simply because of their label, please stop reading this now. We won't agree on this point and never will.
The first time I ever saw Killradio was when they opened for Henry Rollins. About halfway through their set, lead singer Brandon Jordan climbed to the top of the stack of amps at the front of the stage and began balancing himself with one hand holding the trademark chandeliers that adorn The Fillmore. Brandon then leapt from the amp plummeting nearly 15 to the stage below. I couldn't help but think, "Wow, this band is awesome, too bad they'll all die in a week." A few months later this feeling increased when, in an interview with the band, Brandon explained that his right hand was wrapped up in a T-shirt (like Heroine Bob) because he had suffered second degree burns from a fire. Later in the interview Brandon told of how their bassist, Dirty, had thrown out his back on several occasions and how they caused a power outage at a show when Brandon accidentally grabbed an uncovered wire. Though I was/am convinced this band can not survive much longer, they did manage to release Raised On Whipped Cream on Columbia Records, and we're all the better for it.
The album is largely a collection of their earlier demo works along with a few new gems. The whole shebang kicks off with Brandon whispering "Do not think that the palace shall be your protection, or that the crown will save your head." From that point on, the album launches into a non-stop assault on everything. The band covers topics that are both political and personal. Tracks like "A.M.E.R.I.K.A." and "Pull Out" highlight the band's highly liberal political stance. Meanwhile, "Burning the Water Brown" and "Where Go We" shine light on the band's personal life, commenting on a friend's heroine addiction and life on the road, respectively. The band also scores a lyrical victory by avoiding the common pitfalls of current political punk. Nowhere on this record is there to be heard "Fuck George Bush" or "No war for oil." Instead, Brandon opts to use strong imagery and social situations ("Scavenger") to comment on the current political climate.
Musically, Killradio showcase their love for of all forms of rock music. Songs like "A.M.E.R.I.K.A." show that the band can rip through the sub-two minute punk track, while the nearly four-minute "Classroom Blues" demonstrates that they have no problem slowing down their message so you can hear it all. The music itself sounds as influenced by funk and dance rock as it does by punk. Though the album is filled with hard-hitting riffs and screams, songs like "Freedom?" would not seem out of place in a dance rock mix. To some this may seem an uneasy balance or even a total contradiction in musical stylings. Killradio, however, pull it off somewhat effortlessly and seem to quite enjoy screaming 'till you're hoarse one minute and dancing the next.
The biggest complaint I have with the album is the mix. While their demos were rough, they also highlighted the immense musical talent in the band, particularly Dirty's amazing bass lines. However, the final product seems to mute a good majority of the bass and guitars. Surprisingly, the most standout instrument upon fist listen is Duke's drumming, and though he is an awesome drummer, it is certainly not what one would look for to be the featured instrument. With a little toying of the knobs on the stereo, an acceptable balance is not too hard to find. Still, to fully understand this band's sound, one must experience their live show.
As a whole, this album is an amazing first effort from a band, which, if they can stay healthy, should put out a lot more phenomenal music. Though many detractors say that any punk band on a major label are sellouts, Killradio works hard to break that prejudice. From the first seconds of the album to the title track where Brandon sings "Whatcha gonna do when they come knocking on your door? Will you really pull that trigger or go run for shelter?," Killradio wants you to know that they aren't the band you listen to in between your My Chemical Romance mix.
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