There’s a new band called Radkey. They have an EP called Cat & Mouse. The cover is a picture of a bunch of decorative samurai swords. It’s confusing at first, “Why would it have such a random and epic cover?” you ask yourself.
Then you listen, and it makes sense. Although lacking any oriental inspirations or sounds, Radkey deliver what’s on the box: epic, awesome and razor sharp music. Thick riffs and deep vocals lace this new epitome of American punk. It’s a sound that’s been lost for too long, one that is reminiscent of the early days of The Strokes and Queens Of The Stone Age.
Everything is fast and driven, meaning there’s no time to pause and catch your breath on this sixteen minute workout for the ears. The title track ‘Cat & Mouse’ starts things off, a song of hunting with moaned out vocals and screeching guitars done with an ease and brilliance normally associated with more experienced bands. Moments of drums and guitars battling and tripping over each other give the track a reckless tone that is original and welcoming. Songs are fast, immediate and punchy. ‘Out Here In My Head’ is a cocktail of punk mosh-pit action; with a grainy, vintage style sound, like an old cassette in a dusty, old pick-up; it’s energetic and addictive to say the least.
‘Pretty Things’ is written with pure talent as its inspiration. Lyrics belt out seamlessly, sewn perfectly between sporadic riffs and subtle drums. The pace starts fast , slowing only to build up and up to yet more riffs, rhymes and rock. ‘Red Letter’ delves into a murky underworld of desert rock, a song of revenge and a venomous lady. The chorus is something to behold, with the lines, “She sent me a red letter, a personal vendetta, if that makes her feel better, then that’s just how it is” repeated, sung differently, yet keeping a cool, IDGAF attitude. Clanky guitars and threatening riffs are the instrumental villainess, cackling in response to the chorus. A touch of humour starts off ‘N.I.G.G.A (Not Okay)’, with an excerpt of the recently famous interview of Samuel L. Jackson encouraging a white reporter to say “The N-word”. The song itself derides the humour people use as an alibi for racism. This is a song for all to enjoy; it’s not too heavy, it’s terribly catchy, and it has anti-racist overtones; it’s the perfect punk end to a stellar record.
Radkey create a form of storytelling through their music, with each song taking on a different style to suit the theme, changing their sound and pace to match a different persona in each track. Their songs are made to be listened to with all the intensity they have playing it, giving this EP endless appeal. To think that such harmony made is by three teenage brothers is incredible. Performing with talent and awareness way beyond their years, Radkey can only get better from here.