PopMatters’ own Dave Heaton claimed the Radio Dept.’s recent Clinging to a Scheme the best indie-pop record of 2010. It’s not a choice likely to stir up controversy with anyone who’s heard the Swedish trio’s brand of hazy, electro-pop sweet nothings. On this follow-up EP, Never Follow Suit, the band continues along the path laid out by that album, giving us a few all-too-brief morsels of beautiful songcraft. The EP delivers three new tracks, the Clinging to a Scheme cut that gives this collection its title, and a remix of that song. All of them are well worth the listen.
“Never Follow Suit” is one Scheme’s funkier tracks (so much as anything from Sweden can rightfully be called “funky”). Its dub-informed bass line bounces effortlessly beneath retro-futurist synths, all giving proper support to Johan Duncanson’s ethereal vocals. The “Pistol Disco Dub” version of the track here accomplishes a rare feat in indie remix history: it complements the original while not wearing out its welcome over its elongated running time. By isolating the bass line and punching in some more overtly Caribbean rhythms, we get a druggier mix of “Never Follow Suit” that seems at once totally natural and subtly clever. Of the three new tracks, “On Your Side” is the clear standout. Its slow build giving way to a breathtaking sweep of synths and disco hi-hat. It’s the kind of song that you’ll lock on repeat for an hour before heading back to the rest of The Radio Dept.’s catalog for more of the high that the band’s gotten so skilled at delivering.
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// Notes from the Road
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