Red City Radio – The Dangers of Standing Still
Record Label: Paper + Plastick
Release Date: February 22nd, 2011
Since their fall EP Spinning In Circles is A Gateway Drug, Red City Radio have somehow gotten even more punk rock. On The Dangers of Standing Still, they’re still playing pop-punk, but they roll through fatter and heftier PBR anthems – more Off With Their Heads-style bulk, less pop bounce. The effect this subtle modification had on their energy? Strictly positive. The Dangers of Standing Still is 35+ minutes of burly punk razing, where crisp chords and cascading bass lines meet hooks the size of the sun. It’s a thorough razing, too. The rallying theme of the first quarter of the album already begs for destruction: “Together, we can burn this fucking city to the ground!”
Not that there’s a need to limit music to seasons, but The Dangers of Standing Still bears the markings of a summer album. Relatable lyrics about life in general? Check (“We’ll take what we can get, we’re not taking it for granted,” “Count your blessings everyday and hold strong”). Metaphors and imagery? Check (“We’ll run on empty gasoline…,” “Drove all night through this town that pulls my heartstrings”). Philosophical theses that may or may not refer to subject matter that’s as epic as themselves? Check (“The system it wasn’t designed for us,” “We’re moving backwards, not forwards”). Cliché lyrics run amok, but it’s ok because they’ve never sounded as good as they do here, paired with vocals so gravelly they were probably carved from the Ozarks.
My current favorite is “Drinking Ourselves Into the Future,” a laidback strut that recalls The Gaslight Anthem’s “Old White Lincoln.” Both songs are bass driven, but this one’s more concerned with American values than it is with American fashion. “Forget the past and just let it go… We’re all patriots, we’re all neighbors in the end,” it says, and the whoah-oh’s that flank it make its smooth melody glorious. But tomorrow, I might favor “I’m Well, You’re Poison” and its inconceivably catchy chorus, or “Captioned for the Hearing Impaired,” where at least one member of the band does their best impression of a bear when they growl “Could you forgive me?” And it’d be shortsighted to forget “Nathaniel Martinez,” which might as well be titled “Ball of Energy.” I could go on and give accolades to each song, but here’s a summary: The Dangers of Standing Still is the year’s first genuinely stacked punk record.
It’s also, at the moment, the punk record to beat. That’s a tall order for many bands – not impossible, but far from a piece of cake. The Dangers of Standing Still might be Red City Radio’s debut full-length, but they’re already showing signs of veteran swagger. This album is seamlessly written and easy to root for, and those aren’t qualities you just master overnight. Neither, then, is it an album you can burn out overnight. Music is subjective and all, but unless you have an aversion to punk, The Dangers of Standing Still is the kind of debut that isn’t likely to leave your stereo in the foreseeable future.
Definitely my favorite album of the year so far. It embodies everything I have ever liked about punk rock and just added upon it exponentially. There is nothing is nothing better than driving around with the windows down, even if it is 20 something degrees, and singing along to this because when you are caught up in the moment everything everything is all right in the world.