Back in 2002, garage-rock guitarists Brian Huffines and Aaron Hodge, known henceforth as The Radium Screen, decided to embrace electronica and ditch guitars in favour of keyboards, samplers and computers. White Faces is the first offering from the Louisville, Kentucky pairing - four tracks of poppy-electronica with a side order of atmosphere.
Any fans of emo-disco heroes Q and Not U will recognise The Radium Screen’s sound immediately, largely because in places it’s a carbon copy of the now defunct Washington outfit. With a lack of guitars, it may be instrumentally different but it’s vocally identical, especially on discotronic opener and highlight ‘Dirty Blonde’, as chorused yelps weave in and out of bleeping keyboards and sequenced drums. The instrumentation is similar on each song with the exception of ‘Amen’, which swaps the light bleeps for some heavy, grimy sub-bass to create a much darker atmosphere, with its quiet brooding tone much like something from a Darren Aronofsky film. It’s one part David Holmes, one part Aphex Twin, yet its repetitiveness means it manages to scale the heights of neither.
Indeed, the downside here is a lack of variety. Whilst you can almost taste the desire to succeed on ‘Dirty Blonde’, the other tracks are more subdued and fail to ignite, the biggest culprit being ‘She Stands’, a mire of reverby vocals and looped effects which goes from start to finish without threatening to ever get out of first gear, and this probably sums up the problem with the CD as a whole; it doesn’t quite have enough substance to keep you coming back to it as, aside from the opening track, White Faces is largely repetitive, unmoving and unfortunately unmemorable.
4ben marwood's Score