Radical Radical - I Feel Like I Want To (Cover Artwork)

Radical Radical

I Feel Like I Want To (2021)


Orange County's Adam Lohrbach, bassist/vocalist of the long defunct pop punk masterminds Home Grown has returned from a fifteen year musical hiatus as Radical Radical, and the debut of I Feel Like I Want To, a masterful dissertation of growth and reflection from a middle aged father who has learned to truly appreciate themselves again.

The LP edges open with the title-track, ripping Lohrbach's heart open right where Home Grown's 2004 EP When It All Comes Down closed with the hopelessly finite "What Would Love Do Now?," and while the vocalist continued-on to write the majority of the New Years Day debut "My Dear" in 2007, there is something about the intimate delivery and personalism of "I Feel Like I Want To," that seems to pick up where Home Grown's discography halted. The hopeful opener is then shattered by "Middle Aged Masterpiece," which offers an energy level, (and stupidly expert bass noodling) that would bring a listener back to 2000's Home Grown/Limbeck split Connection, all while keeping the subject matter relevant to the current ages of both the audience and the composer.

As the post production of single "Misfit Toys" hurdles in, the concrete thesis statement of the album rests its foot down for good. This work, while also an introspective full of homages, is written by not only a fan of good pop punk, but an expert in the ability to tweak the genre just correctly in order to keep it fresh, new, and identifiable. There are no songs about skateboarding by your girlfriend's locker on this record, but rather the common woes of a married father in his 40's, yet it is written poetically and thoughtfully, avoiding an overtly nostalgic or "get off my lawn" take.

The production value has gotten finer with age, as well, as the vocoder in "Misfit," the modded delay (and most pitted bass line of any song in 2021) in the bridge of "Hazel," and orchestral ambience to "Explode Already" have clever new plug-ins and equalizations, replacing stock "phone filter effect," obvious "whoa" tracks, and all of the other dead horse engineering tactics that lay extinct with the bloated graveyard of early 2000's pop punk. This attention to detail, tied to full engineering and production duties in Lohrbach's hands, result in take-after-take of perfect emoting from Adam, often taking moments in between lines to literally cry to himself as he conquers the lyrics he wrote while digging himself out of his own rut.

"Coyote in Headlights" is an absolute smash song, mirroring the loss in the 2004 song "Midnight City Sky" in a lot of ways, but with an optimism and confidence that elevates the anthem to perhaps the best of the eleven. "I'm Not OK, and That's OK" documents the moment in the piece that Lohrbach is finally above water, and while the quirkiest of the bunch, oozes positivity and a great tempo. "Strange Love'' is perhaps the most personal of the bunch, a slow-jam opening the direct connection to the singer's 2005 departure from Home Grown and the break-up with his long term girlfriend. The couple, of course, rekindled their relationship after some time, married... and, well here we are. "Hello My Name Is Adam" channels some of Lohrbach's expert bass and lead guitar juxtaposition that would fuel his later New Years Day contributions, but, as the song title suggests, lends the lead vocals and subject matter to himself.

"Lead the Rhyme" is a great definition of a Lohrbach standard, wide open verses with heavily redeeming resolve in each chorus, a hopeful, doubletime bridge and a dissonant outro with more progressive post production. This song swims with the qualities of Home Grown's "Tomorrow" or "Give It Up," and leans kindly into the electronic staccato of album closer "Lifeline." The long ballad showcases a terrific summary of everything I Feel Like I Want To embodies, and sews the forty minute piece to completion. This record is GOOD, and just as the writing states, Lohrbach's creative life is far from over. Here's to some more Radical Radical in the near future. Much recommend.