The Hourly Radio, lure of the underground EP

The Hourly Radio, lure of the underground EP

No offense to Texas band The Hourly Radio, but after listening to lure of the underground, I’m simply not getting all the U2 comparisons in their press materials. Now, before anybody balks, let me say that I actually mean that as a compliment. Don’t get me wrong — U2 is a wonderful, revolutionary, epic band, and their music unfolds accordingly. The Hourly Radio, on the other hand, is more intimate; it draws you in and envelops you. It’s crafted on a different level and speaks to its audience in a much different language. Without getting on a soapbox here, there are many lovely British bands that are well-known and allow for easy comparisons; why does U2 have to always be the go-to band?

At any rate, those British bands, people like Placebo, Suede, and Blur, are more akin to the type of sounds you can expect on this CD. The plaintive undertone to singer Aaron Closson’s voice catches you from the beginning in “First Love is Forever” and, much like a first love, leaves you wanting more as it trails off into a closing instrumental. You know that moment in Cruel Intentions when the Placebo song cues up and Sebastian is driving across the bridge in that gorgeous car? The camera pans back and everything is so grand in the picture, but its meaning and the background music are deep and personal. I can totally hear “Fear of Standing Upright” or “Stealing Off” in that kind of situation. Maybe that’s what draws me to this album so much; it invokes the attention and the interest those bands and that movie did and still bring out for me.

Far from sounding over-produced and clean, lure of the underground manages to provide some of the live show atmosphere without falling too far into it. The guitar, bass, and drums actually all work together, fusing into something at once comprehensive and askew. It’s really rare that you find this measure of true collaboration. No one element is stronger and more in focus than any other, and it all seems to drift and flow with equal grace. “Travelsigns,” the final song on this six-track EP, has no actual lyrics at all and yet it stands up as well as every other. If you’ve ever tried to imagine the melding of strength and grace, lure of the underground might be the very picture you were looking for.

(Kirtland Records -- 3100 Main St., Suite 347, Dallas, TX. 75226;; The Hourly Radio --

Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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