Lady Radiator - Bounce Energy Hear Me Out
Record Label: Emerald Moon Records
Release Date: November 27th, 2007
Post-hardcore is mean. It's gritty and it gets right down the point like heavy machinery. The context of hefty, big and often crunchy distortion, grating vocals and many layers defines the standard post stronghold, so it's not much of a surprise when Lady Radiator brings out the stampede with opener "Kids for Sale." See, Bounce Energy Hear Me Out is definitely a post kind of album; it has wailing and whining guitar tangents that sound straight outta Washington or Arizona.
More on typecasting, Lady Radiator sways into the trendy prog fan-group, mingling with bands like Circa Survive or Kaddisfly - rightfully so; they're pretty much all on the same post boat, anyway - but this diminishes their tight, focused and harefooted edge by comparison. Not to say that Circa or Kaddisfly aren't tight; Lady Radiator is simply more hardcore than progressive, yet I can see their appeal coinciding more so with said bands.
But let us explore more than painting-by-genre. The post formula Lady Radiator use on Bounce Energy is streamlined and gets from one point to another like a fox. It leaves skyscraping instrumentals and boggling experimentation for loftier acts. Yet, with only four members, they sound big - huge actually - which helps the album fill out the uninspired bits. Vocally, one of their champion suits, Bounce Energy is always on point. Singer Kenny Ramirez doesn't have pipes that are rare, per say, but he moves through cracks with ease similar to Claudio Sanchez or ex-labelmates Morning for the Masses. He can do the post-hardcore holler, the croon and the cry, and on campy acoustic sing-along "Ships Are For Sailing Not Leaving," we discover that Ramirez is golden even when he's not sandwiched between rebounding riffs. Then, as though the band already know my weaknesses, they throw in gang vocals and respectable hand claps on "Ready Explode", the best song on the album. I'm making this sound all too good to be true.
Draw up a bigger scheme and Bounce Energy won't have much staying power, but who does, anyway? There are other negatives too. The album art does no justice to the beast within. The production buries the percussion, and it's a major trip for the wholeness of the album. Several of the tracks fall short next to winners like "Ready Explode" and "Scientist, The Spaceship". I'm not blown away by giant gusts of experimental and mind-fucking wind, but that's because Lady Radiator is technically and mechanically sound before anything else. So yes, the band isn't a prodigy, but that's all relative. The only thing that's not relative is the quality - which is good - and that's all I need.