Radiator King - Document Untold (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Radiator King

Document Untold (2015)


Document Untold, the second album from Radiator King, aka Adam Silvestri, is a perfect record for those punks into poetic, gritty alt-country. It's music sung from the perspective of the beaten down and tired, who "dream of a life light-years from here," as Silvestri sings on "When The Rockets Leave Me." Document Untold's influences are somewhat obvious -- Gaslight Anthem, Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen, Waits -- but the songs are tuneful and effective, clearly written by a guy with some talent in his bones and who has worked hard to create something worthwhile.

The music here is also well arranged, sometimes particularly evoking the stoned solitude and pain of the ballads on Sticky Fingers or Exile on Main St., like the Mick Taylor-like guitar licks on "Suicide Boats." Silvestri has a knack for strong lyrics here as well, with a Boss-like knack for little details and Catholic angst: "Struck down by the moonlight on Broadway tonight/Lost in the chaos of the air/It was quarter to three and all I could see/Was the cross that you laid out for me." However the songs do blend together at times in a mish-mash of street poetry and mid-tempo shuffles, so "Salesman" sticks out with it's dirty guitar and nice, seedy saxophone backing. Overall though, these are quietly lacerating, brutal songs so they're not for the depressive (or maybe they are! Christ knows I like to wallow).

Radiator King has nowhere to go but up as far as I can tell; the album can get a little same-y but the songs all have a devastating punch right up to the closer "It All Grows Old," as Silvestri muses over slide guitar "You took me in when I was coming down/Couldn't find the rhythms that always carried me/But maybe it was time to sing to a different tune." As long as they're good ones, I'm sold. Punk can always use a dark and stormy troubadour.