Like the former colonel of the First Earth Battalion, Jim Channon, whom Jon Ronson encountered in the story he recounted in The Men Who Stare At Goats, Radio 9 are apparently encouraging their charges – their listeners – to embark on a mission to achieve the impossible, and walk through the walls; though maybe via the more simple expedient of metaphysically opening up the doors of perception rather than shifting their molecules into different arrangements.This seems to be the case on “A Futuristic Journey by Car,” where Leon Muraglia sings of “endless streams of light” (the title of Radio 9’s recent album) and “moving without sound” in wasted wastrel style over rhythms lifted straight from the Big Book of How to Drum like Klaus Dinger. The NEU! influence is acknowledged here not only in the layered electronics and guitars which shift back and forth in parallel over the endless beat, but also in a knowing insertion of “Negativland”-style road drills among the smears of synthesizer whoosh and whumpf.
The particularly good thing about this EP is that it’s not just all about the motorik – which it should be remembered was the title track of Radio 9’s début 10” EP on Enraptured in 2000 (these are no johnnies-come-lately to the NEU!-revival, Muraglia also having started the Kosmische Club in 1996) – as well turned out as it assuredly is here. There’s a keen sense of electronica’s glitchier aspects too, particularly on “It’s Supposed to Look Like That,” which unfolds in a tumble of pureed sonic sound sources wrapped in rhythms which snap suddenly into the urgent rush of “While You Were Sleeping.” It’s another good-time kosmische groover which lights up the soundscape with bright electronic shapes as the vocals drop down from on high while the melody soars into the sort of expansive sound which surely demands huge quantities of blinding white light to flare up onstage (and maybe gouts of flame too) when the band play this number. It’s all good, clean fun, notwithstanding the sinister lyrics about what the narrator and friends claim that they get up to while the listeners were asleep — “We know what’s best for you,” they say, but are they really to be trusted?There’s more psychotropic lighter-waving in the slow-pumping, euphoric “Wave Upon Wave Upon Wave,” a track where it seems like Radio 9 have achieved some kind of collective nirvana, a blowing out of sputtering electrical signals and triumphant keyboards worthy of The Knife‘s revisiting of stadium rave electronica. Perhaps the band are inviting their audience to walk through walls because they have already done so, and liked what they found on the other side? Maybe Lieutenant-Colonel Channon knows the answer to that one.
-Antron S Meister-