While the Marked Men might be on some sort of hiatus due to the busy schedules of everyone involved, Radioactivity at least gives us a glimpse at the glory of old, with half the band represented on the band’s eponymous debut. The project is filled with leftover tracks from Jeff Burke’s project, The Novice, and he called in good pal Mark Ryan to flesh things out, leaving us with a blistering record of punk rock hits.
“Sickness” opens with that stuttering guitar line that’s pretty prominent in the work of all those involved with Radioactivity, though there’s a soloing guitar line that seems to knife its way through the track. The vocals push the boundary of raspiness that you get from classic punk rock, though for all intents and purposes, the group’s still leans a little bit towards the pop side of things. You’ll get that image perfectly on the following two tracks, “Other Life” and “World of Pleasure.” The latter is definitely one of the record’s standout tracks, pounding furiously in your ears, despite having a catchy delivery of the lyrics throughout.
And you get what you expected on the first half of the record, with the blistering pace of the tunes allowing for the band to demonstrate their songwriting capabilities, while still honing their pop sensibility; this is one of the things I’ve loved about Marked Men and all associated bands. Tracks like “Alright” are perfect for driving, partying or even running; they fit in every corner of your life. But, what has impressed me about Radioactivity is that there’s a glimpse of what’s to come with the band’s next LP (rumored to be on its way in 2014) near the latter half of the album.
For example, “Alone” has this huge ringing guitar line, with the bass slowly working its way into the fold. It opens up the space quite a bit, adding just the slightest differentiation to the band’s signature sound. If you listen carefully, you can hear the guitars working against each other, almost fighting to define the band’s sound. There’s also the power ballad that lurks at the end of the record via “Trusted You.” The drums seem to want to escape into a heavier realm, though their steadiness really provides a good backbone for the rest of the song, which remains sort of a heartfelt ode to a lost friend or lover. It’s actually great on its own, but it’s made even better for the fact that its fittingly unique in the grand scheme of the LP.
I’m a huge fan of the group, even if the songs sometimes seem to blend together after repeated listens. And that’s the thing with Radioactivity, you’re going to get repeated listens. The songs are too good to ignore, and too catchy to dismiss. It’s clear that the duo of Ryan and Burke still have tons of tricks up their sleeves to keep me coming back to buying their records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/04-Locked-in-My-Head.mp3]
Download: Radioactivity – Locked in My Head [MP3]