Band: The Radio Sun
Album: Beautiful Strange
Release Date: 24th August
Label: Pride & Joy Music
Review by Sean
For a band that are seemingly unknown on these shores, The Radio Sun sure do come at you with a stadium filling sound. For the uninitiated, think radio friendly rock music. Catchy songs, mainly about a guy and a girl, and a desire for the guy and the girl to do some fun things together, with some unexpectedly good guitar work, and some really top notch vocals.
‘Beautiful Strange’ is the Aussie groups’ fifth outing, and for this one, you can tell they’ve gone all in on trying to make their own brand of AOR as accessible as possible. There’s no risks taken here, but the band are playing better than they have for some time, no doubt due to the harmony in the current lineup, which will hopefully be their lineup for years to come. However, this waffling doesn’t get us into why we’re here, which is to talk about whether or not the guys’ album is worth it.
To start, we have the first single, ‘Hold On Tight’, a fun number, and one that is sure to catch more than a few ears of first time listeners. It kicks the album off with a punch, something from the heavier side of what they are capable of, and is one of my favourite songs of all of the bands back catalogue. The chorus is quite the earworm to boot, and the guitar partnership of vocalist Jason Old and lead guitarist Steve Janevski works really well here. It really does serve as the perfect introduction to the band, as it showcases just how good they can harmonise vocally, how well the engine room of Antony Wong on bass and Gil Annese on drums moves the band along, and just how good that guitar pairing is.
From there, we get some proper stadium fillers, in ‘Believe In Me’ and ‘Should Have Listened To My Heart’. The former a tad edgier than the latter, some proper ballad style Slash guitar on show. It helps that the vocals have just a tiny pinch of grit in them. Think Coverdale or Bon Jovi but, you know… good. ‘Should Have Listened…’ is a proper 80s throwback. It’s light, moves along at a good clip, and is uplifting, as is much of what Radio Sun come out with, to be fair.
‘As Long As You Want Me’ has a real power ballad sound to it, and honestly, I really dug it. I know it’s super cheesy to like ’em, but I can’t help but nod my head along to it. Get your lighters in the air, get your missus on your shoulders.
However, while ‘Out of This World’ is a touch different, it’s still very much one for couples. I still dug it, and I’ll bet the guys have fun seeing people sing along to this when they tour with it.
With ‘Miss Wonderful’ the guys get about as poppy as I think they ever have done. This one has chart single all over it, and absolutely will pull in some new fans if they get the chance to hear it. Don’t get used to this sound though, because ‘Have You Got What It Takes’ changes things up yet again. It’s still very much single material, but it’s a different style. A bit more roughness to it. Think Nickelback around The Long Road sort of sound, but more romantic.
A nice, somewhat Satriani riff kicks off ‘I Don’t Want To See You Cry’, which takes us right back to where we started, stadium rock anthems, and this tone continues with another album favourite, ‘Hearts On Fire’. This one is a bit more up tempo, a bit more hard rock, while still keeping that melody.
Another potential single beckons with ‘Beautiful Secret’. It’s just such a fun little number, keeping the band in their comfort zone while sounding super accessible. Seek it out, give it a listen, you won’t regret it. Promise.
Closing us out is the duo of ‘Five Years After’ and ‘Stand Tall United’. ‘Five Years…’ slows things down for us a little again, but keeps the groove going, whereas album closer ends us on a high note, going out with some super uplifting guitars to kick it off, before getting into a societal awareness laden song.
All in all, while not being in my particular wheelhouse normally, this was a fun album. I enjoyed it, and wish I could see the guys performing stuff off it live.
If you get the chance, and fancy some fun AOR, give them a shot.
01. Hold On Tight
02. Believe In Me
03. Should Have Listened To My Heart
04. As Long As You Want Me
05. Out Of This World
06. Miss Wonderful
07. Have You Got What It Takes
08. I Do Not Want To See You Cry
09. Hearts On Fire
10. Beautiful Secret
11. Five Years After
12. Standing Tall United
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheRadioSun