The title track from Virginia/DC-based sextet Sub-Radio, “What Are We?” asks one of the more pertinent questions in anyone’s romantic life: Is it just sex? Is it something like love? Is it fleeting or something more sustainable? The collective can’t answer the question definitively but asking it in the most infectious of ways for nearly four minutes may prove a better strategy. The hook is heavy and immediate and makes you wish that your volume knob could stretch a few dozen notches higher.
With contemporary dating nomenclature evolving and the means of communication coming in forms that the originators of love could not have comprehended, basic ideas become complex. Discussing the single, Sub-Radio offered this: “We looked around at our friends and peers and this struggle they’re all having with having to put labels on their relationships,” the band wrote. “Everybody’s ‘talking’ but nobody knows what ‘talking’ means. Maybe for some people that works but some of us are too neurotic for that kind of uncertainty. And sometimes even young people just want to lay their damn cards on the table. We wanted to write the soundtrack to that moment.”
And, maybe, get us to think more about what we’re saying while we’re “talking”.