Radio Dept., The – Passive Agressive: Singles 2002-2010
Record Label: Labrador Records
Release Date: January 25, 2011
The Radio Dept. is the Swedish pop group responsible for last year’s subtlety addicting Clinging to A Scheme. They’ve been around since 1995, though, so they’ve released Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002 – 2010 for newer fans looking for SparkNotes on an earlier part of their career.
How is it?
I’ve gone on record saying that the best way to get into The Radio Dept. is to cut straight to Clinging to A Scheme, but Passive Aggressive presents perhaps an even better way. It’s not as immediately accessible as their 2010 full-length, but it does include what are arguably the best tracks from the release. Most notable are “Heaven’s On Fire,” with its idealist film quote about destroying the “bogus capitalist process that is destroying youth culture” and flooring chorus melody, and bouncy romp highlight “David.”
Of course, the main attraction of Passive Aggressive is its foray into the band’s vast discography. It’s a pretty intricate collection, too, going as far as to include the breathtaking instrumental “Tåget,” which clocks in at just 56 seconds. Just being able to get a general scope of the band’s evolution is fun in its own right. Take album opener “Liebling” for example: The track boasts the same gentle, floating vocals that are signature in their more recent work, but the guitars are much fuzzier. Or “Annie Laurie,” which drifts like a lullaby – a pleasant and unique direction that contrasts nicely from their typical club-y atmosphere. But the beauty of the whole album is that it showcases less of a vertical evolution, and more of a horizontal one. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been any improvement from The Radio Dept. over the years, because they’ve certainly polished their sound to a delightful glint. But even in their earlier, more experimental stage, they were penning beautiful pieces of music wholly worthy of attention, and that makes Passive Aggressive an absolutely enthralling listen.