The Rad Trads - On Tap - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Rad Trads - On Tap

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2018-09-14
The Rad Trads - On Tap
The Rad Trads - On Tap

Singing drummers are something of a rare breed, but The Rad Trads have one, anchoring their New York indie rock and roll soul band. On Tap is their second full album and this time around they sound like they’re having more fun.

Each song here sounds like a cold, sunny day strolling down the streets to catch the train. ‘My Place’ offers you around to their gaff, with honking trumpets alongside choppy, shuffling guitar. It gets a little creepy though when John Fantum states that “me and my dog we’re gonna show you what you wanna see”. That streak is picked up again in ‘Vada Via’, in which love is professed for someone quite telling them to go away in Italian - “she walks away but I’m close behind, she’s being coy playing hard to get”.

‘Good Luck Unto Ya’ is a plodding effort, but is so full of resolve that it’s hard to resist the positive vibes. The horn section gets a touch of the Mexican funeral sound here, showing some flexibility in style and giving the song more than one dimension. Swaying by the campfire, ‘Thumbtack’ takes things easier, with stripped percussion and a folkier melody - once again it’s hard to ignore the plead to “come back home”.

The mixture of sounds and textures in the playing ring out in the songs, mixing Americana and soul, and no song makes you feel more like you’re riding a train through Manhattan more than ‘Manhattan Bridge Serenade’, an ode to the workday commute. Some of the imagery conjured is a little on the nose, but the drudgery of finishing work is brightened by acknowledging the journey and the anticipation is bolstered by trumpets and saxophone mimicking the blare of vehicles streaming by.

‘Wishing Well’ caps things off nicely in a down-on-your-luck way, asking “why did you go away?”. It’s this pathetic kind of vibe which the band revel in, straining in the alley like a pack of cool but luckless cats and lending that roguish charm to proceedings.

Across the album, there aren’t enough tracks which pull you in with a melody or richness lyrically, so it’s easy to skip past a lot of it. The blaring horns liven up most songs but not to the point where you want to keep listening over and over.

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