With guitar-driven rock just now bounding back into fashion after struggling against tech-tronica for the better part of five years, Radio Nationals prove that all you really need is a good old singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer.
Blistering, melodious rock tracks seasoned with the occasional heartfelt power anthem make up the meat of their sound, while rural twang flavors their stew. Lyrics are genuine and relatable, while the music comes across as familiar as a dear childhood friend. Their tender moments are sprinkled with stories of former glories, while barn-burners like "Monster," "On & On" and "Tweed" could shake the dead back to life.
Songs go from sincere to sarcastic and from rebellious to romantic. It's mischief and misery all rolled into one. Now isn’t that what cryin’ in your beer is all about?
With singer Jared Clifton, who hails from West Virginia, and the bandmates -- Richard Davidson (bass), Spencer Lamm (drums) and Patrick Schultz (guitar) -- he’s picked up along the way, Radio Nationals aren’t that far from the road trip for which they've created a perfect soundtrack. Origins aside, they make music that could come as easily from the Pacific Northwest, downtown Detroit, a dusty dirt road or any college town.
Legendary Seattle radio station KCMU has gotten behind the band by giving airplay to their record and featuring them on the weekly live show, "The Live Room," from which the track "On & On" was taken.
Radio Nationals may not be able to resurrect an entire music format single-handedly, but they’re sure doing their all-American, rock 'n' roll best.
-- Brent Kidwell
Brent Kidwell is a music supervisor for MTV in Los Angeles.