radio days

From the opening moments of this Spanish garage rock duo’s album, it would be more than fair to say that the crashy rock ‘n’ roll spirit contained within the eleven songs on ‘Radio Days’ seem instantly familiar. However, both Eva J Ryjien and Jave Ryjien share vocals and the contrast in voices provides Idealipstics with a notable difference to the other garage fuelled bands with which they could be easily compared (the similarities to some are more than obvious; though it’s damn hard to push this trashy simplicity into new territory). Most lead vocals are taken by Eva, but Jave has a strong presence on a few tracks. His vocal harmonies give ‘The King Has Died’ depth; both his and Eva’s voices work well together, as the musical arrangement – in this case, a garage rock jangle – gives the track a sleazy vibe. The dual vocal is also really effective on ‘Legs’, in a great call-and-response arrangement on the chorus.

‘Frozen Head’ is very strong. The energy behind the rhythm guitar work really comes across and a decent chorus (slightly more complex than some here) makes things fairly memorable. Eva’s vocal is slightly slurred and a quirky pronunciation in places adds to the all-round trashiness. ‘Love Destroy All’ highlights a slightly more sultry edge and showcases a very strong Yeah Yeah Yeahs influence. It’s a trick which would fit easily onto their ‘Fever To Tell’ full-length. ‘U Talk’ has a pre-chorus built solely out of repetition which promises a great deal for a chorus, yet when the similarly repetitive chorus appears, it stretches simplicity just a little too far and eventually falls flat. It’s a brief misfire though, since ‘Don’t You Love Me Anymore?’ follows quickly and quickly taps into an arrangement which evokes a sloppy Kinks-esque riff and once again drives home a simple and repetitive chorus, highlighting Idealipsticks’ best traits.

‘Bitch & Whore’ shows Eva and Jave in a rather more spiteful mood. Here, the lead vocal is taken by Jave, but Eva joins for a strong co-lead on the chorus. This track stands out, not just for the vocal, but for its slightly softer arrangement. The main bulk of the song features an almost new-wave approach to its rhythm guitar work. If this is a little too restrained for you, ‘How Does It Feel?’ hammers full-throttle from the speakers. Imagine Karen O tackling something with the intensity of The White Stripes’ ‘Let’s Build a Home’ and you may have some idea of what Idealipstics do very well. Alongside ‘Legs’, it’s the album’s best track.

One review claims Idealipsticks have a completely unique sound, the challenge is on to not instantly think of Karen O and her band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs after hearing this. Idealipsticks should be taken for a spin if you really like the noisier bits of the Ravonettes, Detroit Cobras and early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, since in that vein, this album features some fantastic tracks. However…it’s hard imagine a time when Idealipsticks’ ‘Radio Days’ will replace ‘Fever To Tell’ in your affections, no matter how decent it is.

See the promo video for ‘The King Is Dead’ here.
See the promo video for ‘Legs’ here.
Watch a full 8 song live in the studio gig from Spanish TV here.

June 2010