Radio 4 - Dance To The Underground (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Radio 4

Dance To The Underground (2001)

Gern Blandsten

Radio 4 most assuredly take a lesson from their punk rock forefathers -- no, I'm not talking about NOFX. Go back farther. Nope, not Operation Ivy. Keep going. Bad Religion? Getting a little closer. The Clash and the Gang Of Four? You got it. After releasing one of my personal favorite albums last year, "The New Song And Dance," this New York trio [featuring an ex-member of NYC scene stalwarts Garden Variety] has been able to achieve something very few bands seem to be able to do -- get better with your followup release.

The EP gets off on the right foot with "Dance To The Underground," an infectiously catchy song that wouldn't be out of place at a hip New York disco. With congas, handclaps, and tambourines peppering the background, this song is a sure winner.

"Sink So Low" knocks the tempo up a few notches, with a frenetic drumbeat and a guitar solo that is simplistic yet straight up rock and roll. It keeps you on your feet for close to three minutes before you're suddenly dropped off at the next song.

That next song? "Caroline." The guitar part is very old-school U2-esque, and the extra keyboards in the background only fuel the old U2 feeling [yes kids, U2 can be pretty rocking, go buy "Boy" or "War"]. It's a great song, with a little bit of a dub/reggae influence sneaking in during the chorus.

The EP comes to a close with a remix of the title track, and it's just as good as the rest of the music on the disc. The remix tacks on another minute to the original song, but it keeps it fresh and alive, not feeling bogged down at all.

Radio 4 wear their influences on their sleeves, right next to their Wire and Gang of Four buttons and Clash patch, but what's the harm in that? The band has realized that there is no shame in making a punk rock song that you can get down to. If only more bands would rediscover their heritage, the future would be a much better place. My only serious complaint? 8 dollars for only 4 tracks. A bit pricey, which kept me from giving this 4 full stars. Otherwise, you have a solid EP, one of the best this year.

Dance To The Underground