Radio 4 - Gotham

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-10-07

Gotham! is the fiercely political second album from New York City's Radio 4. Forget the Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or any of the usual names from NYC's Class of 2002 for comparison; Radio 4 take their cues from further along the rock timeline, with the raw post-punk sounds of A Certain Ratio, ESG, the Clash and Gang of Four as their reference points, and update them with the contemporary production values of Primal Scream knob-twiddlers Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy.

Lyrically, Gotham!'s 13 tracks of jagged punk-funk seethe with the Brooklyn-based band's fury at the state of their city and thus is a social action call-to-arms for its residents. Gotham!'s defiance takes in wider social issues, such as AIDS education ("Start a Fire") and promotion of the arts to all social classes ("Save Your City"), but former NYC Mayor Rudi Guiliani and his draconian "no dancing" Cabaret Law and Quality of Life campaign are the most popular targets and lambasted in highlights "Our Town", "New Disco" and blistering single "Dance to the Underground".

For all their urgency and air-punching politics, Radio 4 never get tedious. Gotham! is evidence they've got as tenacious a grip on tight riffs as insightful lyrics and is as danceable as it is insightful. --Leslie Gilotti

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