[6 December 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
The Virginia-based quartet My Radio has quite the apt name as their latest album, Starts in the East / Falls in the West, is music that they clearly want played on your radio, so mainstream it is to a fault. The band has earned comparisons to both Phoenix and Coldplay, so that should give you an indication that this is pretty much as middle of the road as it comes. The problem is that Phoenix actually has catchy, and yet angular songs that are interesting and Coldplay can write a great single now and then. That’s not to say that My Radio doesn’t have great songs – “Bricks and Mortar”, the most overt Phoenix-like moment on the record, is catchy and upbeat and isn’t all that bad, even if you’ve sort of heard this thing all before. However, a lot of what’s to be found on this album is quite vanilla and bland. It’s “been there, done that, bought the T-shirt from the rock gig” and My Radio clearly doesn’t have much that’s new and enthralling to bring to the table.
What’s more, there are moments where the band stumbles. The final track “Something New” (it isn’t) is just gooey and sappy and string-based that the principles in this band almost feel embarrassed to have it on this record. And starting out your record with a slow ballad that turns into a rave-up in the form of “600 MPH” is probably not the wisest decision. However, the “oooh’s” in the background and the “come on, come on” refrain of “Life Moves On” is affecting, positive and upbeat. All in all, Starts in the East / Falls in the West is a bit of a lumpy affair. There are glimpses of melodies that are pleasant enough, but overall the issue is one of over-familiarity. At the end of the day, when the sun falls on the western skyline, this LP is probably one that you’ll want to hear once and then could live without ever hearing again. I guess that means I wasn’t very moved by this, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that this album won’t be making it into my CD alarm clock radio to wake me up with the sunrise. Sorry.