One of the hottest bands around at the moment, the magnificent Radio Free Alice have just surprisingly unveiled their self-titled debut EP along with a new single and video for the track ‘Waste of Space’. This year the band signed to the massive and highly prestigious WME Agency for worldwide representation after their signing locally to the illustrious Double Drummer label, whose Managing Director Tim Prescott said the following of the band:
Radio Free Alice stand out in the current landscape. They’re different. You can hear the reference points and the rich history of guitar pop in their sound; but the combination of influences feels fresh and unique. We’re incredibly excited to be working with them.
Indeed the sound is a breath of fresh air in the current climes – full throttle rock with a leather-jacketed sneer. They can proudly take their place alongside contemporary bands like Johnny Hunter and A Swayze and the Ghosts as flag bearers for genuinely exciting and dangerous new new wave rock’n’roll. This is tasty and very cathartic fare.
Opening track and new single ‘Waste of Space’ has an urgency about it, a punky almost bluesy swing that canters along at a trot with yearning soaring vocals and a chorus that is grander than the Himalayas. Chainsaw guitars drive across the pounding beats and ambulant bass. Singer Noel Learmonth says of the track:
‘Waste of Space is a song about growing up and feeling unwanted. It came together pretty easily and quickly; we wrote it really collaboratively. The EP in many ways is a homage to our favourite artists. It’s post-punky but melodic. It’s a collection of some new and some older songs that we felt marked a good place to start.’
The accompanying video was directed by Madeleine Purdy and it is a brilliant performance piece shot in moody black and white, showcasing the enigmatic band members in a bleak urban environment:
Wasting no time and coming in at under two blistering minutes, second track ‘Paris Is Gone’ is a vibrant piece of post punk glory with all the acerbic joy of an earthquake a la Fontaines D.C. combined with a vocal delivery that recalls the studied elegance of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. It’s this dichotomy that makes them so special. The filigree of horn adds a dramatic luster. Learmonth says of the song:
‘Paris is Gone’ is a manic narrative about a post break-up adrenaline rush. ‘Paris’ doubles as a reference to both the city with all its associated romanticism and also the insecurity of modern love.
Brim full of attitude and a swaggering stance, this is a refined chaos that is both elegant and disheveled in the most glorious fashion.
‘I Gotta (Fall In Love) is a spine tingling slab of frenetic post punk that has deep inside its genes a panoply of very commendable bands. Think of an amalgam of The Jam, Wreckless Eric, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the Undertones, and you get the picture.
Add to that a little sliver of The Smiths, The Strokes and a touch of Brit Pop bravado and attitude. Learmonth says of the track:
‘I Gotta (Fall In Love)’ is a song about feeling awkward at bad nightclubs and wanting to fall in love. It’s about the frustrations we feel towards the act of communicating who we truthfully are to those we are attracted to.
If the track itself is a defibrillator-like shot to the system, the video turns up the voltage. It is an enthralling snapshot of a bacchanalian life observed by the band with all its sneering and louche disdain, with just a hint of yearning. It’s like all those parties we attended in our youth where all one could do is observe the joy of others. Parties, alcohol, smoking and snogging – and the painful absence of the latter while everyone else is at it – is wrapped up in a frustrated barrage of guitars and drums and a sardonic distant delivery.
Directed by Angie Kilsby, this video is a palimpsest for youthful frustration and desire that bleeds into every angry note:
‘Look What You’ve Done’ puts on display a different face of Radio Free Alice. The volume and noise has been turned down, the station switching to something more delicate and restrained, but the intensity and power remain as the track coasts on an acoustic jangle. The vocals croon with a jagged urgency and the lyrics imparted with a wry smile.
Themed on the collapse of a relationship and a resulting stasis, Learmonth says of the track:
‘Look What You’ve Done’ is a song we wrote really collaboratively. It’s about a marriage that’s completely deteriorating but continues on anyway.
The result is something drenched in a laconic passion, rooted in urgency and despair with a self-deprecating smile delivered over angular prowling instrumentation.
This EP is a refreshing and pulse-quickening debut that is both exciting and bold. While wearing esteemed musical influences on their sleeve, the delivery is unique and contemporary, filled with a louche swagger and insouciance far beyond their years. The future of rock’n’roll is secure: this band is going to be big.
‘Radio Free Alice’ is out now and available to stream and download here and through the above link. The band will be touring over the coming weeks:
Thursday November 23rd – The Duke, Sydney
Thursday November 30th – The Duke, Sydney
Thursday December 7th -The Tote, Melbourne