Posted on August 21st, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Magdalene Taylor

Missouri-based band of brothers Radkey have existed in some established form for about five years now (One would assume that the three brothers, Dee, Isaiah, and Solomon Radke have existed together as a trio for a bit longer, but it turns out they are only 21, 17, and 19, respectively). They’ve toured together for awhile, and have released two EPs, but it isn’t until now that they’re finally putting out their first full-length album, Dark Black Makeup. Though it’s only their first LP, that five years of experience as a band shows. The band’s blistering alt-rock sound is reminiscent of a range of bands from Queens of the Stone Age to The White Stripes, but is still quite distinctly their own. Dark Black Makeup carries its own as an impressive, lyrically dense and rhythmically appealing intro to the band.

The main appeal of Dark Black Makeup is its overwhelming catchiness. Title and opening track "Dark Black Makeup" might be strategically placed in order to make this clear from the get-go, but it holds nearly as well for almost every track. Press releases describe the album as punk, but this is only apparent in brief moments. For the most part, the album is modern adult rock with a mature but non-serious edge, and strong radio appeal. The vocalist’s deep, classic voice couples with the high-energy yet simple cut of their sound to bring it full circle. The title track - and others like "Love Spills" - set the pace for this in much the same way as that catchiness: early on.

The band balances vivacious rock with slightly slowed down but still rock-focused tracks like "Hunger Pain" which brings out a more old-school vibe that calls out again to Jack White. A few other tracks find their subject in the lyrics. "Sank" plays up an unusual, and maybe uncomfortable story in its contents: "I’m sneaking into your room to climb in bed with your daughter/I’m gonna sink that ship." It’s questionable, but its all-around brashness makes it one of the best songs on Dark Black Makeup. The following track, "Song Of Solomon," presumably about the band member, begins with the line "I’m a lazy dropout," adding an extra element of self-aware scummy-ness to the album as it reaches its end, making it all the more dynamic and endearing.

Dark Black Makeup makes its point with blaring rock energy and unique touches in the vocals and lyrics. At any point it’s easy to draw comparisons, but nothing is quite accurate; carving out your own sound by the first album is a rather impressive task, but Radkey have managed to do it with charisma and more than one catchy riff.

Track List:

  1. Dark Black Makeup
  2. Romance Dawn
  3. Love Spills
  4. Parade It
  5. Best Friends
  6. Le Song
  7. Hunger Pain
  8. Feed My Brain
  9. Sank
  10. Song of Solomon
  11. Evil Doer
  12. Glore
  13. Feel
Radkey - Dark Black Makeup
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

79 / 100
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