665: Neighbor Of The Beast!


Onefoot Records, 1998


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The more punk rock I listen to, the more I miss Husker Du.

Now, that's not meant to be a slam towards those punk bands out there today that do create some exciting music. It's just that I always seem to feel a connection to bands like Husker Du and Black Flag - those bands that were the first I listened to when I discovered punk back in the late-'80s. (Gimme a break; I was a late-bloomer.)

So it shouldn't be surprising that bands like Radiobaghdad have great appeal to me. Their third disc (and first domestic release) 665: Neighbor Of The Beast combines humor and angst into a decent package, although the formula tends to get a little tiring.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Lead singer Lester Norris reminds me a lot of Husker Du's Bob Mould; both singers have a pleasant bleat to their style, which is great. The guitar duo of Pete Gross and Chris Hawkins are a solid tandem, while bassist Pete Gordon and drummer Chris Goldbach provide a solid backbeat to the band. Musically, Radiobaghdad isn't afraid to plow through some songs and to take a slower (no, not ballad-like) approach to others.

This fifteen-song disc (which clocks in at around 35 minutes) starts off strongly with tracks like "No Resurrection" (which is one of the only overt political songs on this disc), "Sugihara" and "One Prize". But Radiobaghdad's formula for success starts to slip a bit when they dwell too much on drugs, as on "My Bong! My War!" - a track which actually could have been pretty good, but just wasn't developed enough.

Some of the songs on 665: Neighbor Of The Beast! are tracks I still haven't made my mind up on yet; my opinions on them keep changing with each listen. Songs like "Truckers On Speed" and "Shnurman" do seem to have a more serious message behind them, although (at least this time around) they seem to be hidden by the smart-aleck attitude which benefits other tracks on this album.

While Radiobaghdad is a talented band, the one thing they need to work on is keeping the attention of the listener throughout the album. By the time I hit the last few tracks on this disc, I felt like I had been listening to it for hours, not a simple 30 minutes. I'll attribute this to the band's youthfulness; this is something that can be developed with more life experience.

Radiobaghdad might seem to be a totally irreverent band if you were to base your judgment on the album title alone, but 665: Neighbor Of The Beast dares to delve occasionally into more serious fare, all with a slightly sardonic edge to it. Fortunately, this works for them most of the time - though they still haven't completely won me over with their style. I will, however, be more than willing to listen to future efforts - if only to see that they've reached the musical level I'd like to see them hit.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Onefoot Records, and is used for informational purposes only.