- by Justin Pearson Rating:7 Release Date:2016-10-21 Label: Labrador
It's been six years since the release of the excellent Clinging to a Scheme. On follow up Running Out of Love, Swedish indie dream pop duo The Radio Dept. prove they're still able to craft hook-laden, danceable songs. This time, though, their addictive brand of euphoria is laced with a heavier, political message mostly specific to their native country while also highlighting issues in the current global climate. Speaking with brooklynvegan.com, lead singer Johan Duncanson recently said "These are scary times, and not just in Sweden, with Trump over here and everything. It's hard to not write songs..."
This album could be viewed as a statement of sorts, but even without the lyrical content it succeeds on its own in specifically musical terms. The melodies are well thought out, even if they don't push as far forward as expected after the band's six year hiatus.
'Swedish Guns' is one of the more pointed songs here, and it even has a machine gun sound effect that makes its refrain that much more potent: "If you want something done/ Get Swedish guns/ Take care of someone/ Get Swedish guns/ You need a helping hand/ Get Swedish guns/ Secure a piece of land/ Get Swedish guns."
'We Got Game' and 'Occupied' are techno-inspired dance tracks that manage to combine the lightness of pop with something a little darker. 'Committed To The Cause' takes this even one step further, making it one of the band's best songs. Just listen to the groovy bass line, tribal-like drum pattern and lead singer's Johan Duncanson's direct, yet soothing vocals that deliver a bleak, but ultimately empowering message with a call for solidarity as the title implies: "We're here to work, not break free/ We're here to hurt endlessly."
Running Out of Love might not have as many peaks or earworms as its predecessor, but the height it reaches is enough to warrant continued admiration for a band whose return should be welcomed by anyone who likes smart, satisfying pop music. And if it's indeed becoming a bitter world of hate that's been drained of our supply of humanity, then Running Out of Love is here to fill at least part of the void.