Red City Radio - The Dangers of Standing Still (Cover Artwork)

Red City Radio

The Dangers of Standing Still (2011)

Paper + Plastick

Citing many of the conversations and readings I've come across over the years, a popular question surfaces up from time to time: "What happened to pop-punk?" Who really penned the blueprint for pop-punk and what did it define? Was it the iconic Descendents and a series of four-chord songs anchored in love, heartache, fun and catchy riffs mostly delivered in under a few minutes?

Well, Red City Radio's The Dangers of Standing Still reminds me not of the Descendents, but definitely leaves the phrase "pop-punk" hanging on my tongue as I'm trying to describe this brand new album by this new band to my friends. Does modern punk work? How about "pop-punk for men"? God forbid "pop-punk for men" takes off, but if it does: You heard it here first. So, why call it that? For starters, The Dangers of Standing Still clocks in around 35 minutes–no song hits the four-minute mark–over the course of 12 blistering songs, and reminds me of a few other bands like Off with Their Heads, the Lawrence Arms, Madball (not initially) and the now-defunct Latterman. Holy shit does this remind me of the best stuff put out by Latterman, a band I totally missed during their lifetime. Now, back to why The Dangers of Standing Still could be considered "pop-punk for men."

Red City Radio's multi-source of vocals are all gruff and are thankfully devoid of nasally tones and whining; as I've pointed out elsewhere: "Not only do these guys make some tight music, but they embrace one of my absolute favorite pastimes: Drinking hundreds of beers." Whether or not this classifies a band, or any human, as "manly," is up for thoughtless fodder, but shows a band with personality and humor–what diva/tightwad band fesses up to something like that? There are no slow jams or ballads on this album–seriously, every song keeps up with the rhythm of a runaway truck on a downward slope. The Dangers of Standing Still's songs are fast; the lyrics cover a lot of ground (though it's a bit hard to keep up, really), the guitars are as buzzsaws should sound when distorted through an amplifier; the rhythm section is pretty tight and is slightly reminiscent of classic Rancid when Matt Freeman would lock in with Brett Reed on tracks like "International Cover-Up" and "Rats in the Hallway". Also, the production on this album is fairly balanced and quite tight. Ever squeeze your butt cheeks together as you run for the nearest toilet (when any one will do) after eating some stomach-ripping chili? The production is as tight as you'd need them butt cheeks to be.

So, can I put The Dangers of Standing Still on at a party and say I'm a fan of this band? Sure. Is this album a 10/10? To someone, surely, and it definitely would earn that, but for me, it takes a lot to get 10/10. However, these boys have made one hell of a first impression on me. Good work, guys; internet high-five.