Album: Radio 4

Stealing of a Nation, CITY SLANG
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The Independent Culture

The New York combo Radio 4 are named after the Public Image Ltd track, not the radio station; their music likewise cleaves to the 1980s UK indie mode, particularly the agit-punk-funk of Gang of Four. The loping funk bass, disco hi-hats and slashes of guitar that dominate tracks such as "State of Alert" and the opening "Party Crashers" are straight out of the Go4 manual, although the addition of Gerard Garone's pulsing synth-lines adds a sort of fin-de-siècle acid-house feel. On "Transmission" (not the Joy Division song), the keyboards give an updated 1980s industrial-techno flavour that's remarkably similar to Duran Duran, while "Money" and "Dismiss the Sound" are closer in spirit to the retro-electroclash of Fischer-Spooner. But Radio 4's political attitude sets them apart from such whimsical gender-bending: "Nation" surveys a homeland in which "All around us/ And in between/ Politics like cancer..." Over a dub skeleton of rimshot, hi-hat and echoing guitars, and a bleak backdrop of string synth, the group-leader, Anthony Roman, muses on the terrible turns taken by his country: "I have great expectations/ For this strange situation/ I signed my letter of resignation/ For the stealing of a nation..." For all that, "Absolute Affirmation" finds him retaining a little faith in "genuine things" - whatever they may be.