It’s a bit of an unfortunate name choice given Mother Nature’s behavior over the past month, but give the music of Radiation City a chance and your fears will be put to rest. The only thing that glows here is a sunshiney nostalgia that permeates the Portland band’s new full-length, The Hands That Take You.
The three-piece, Cameron Spies of Spesus Christ, Lizzy Ellison (who also holds down the other half of Spesus Christ) and Randy Bemrose (Skeletron, Junkface, Jean-Eric) have been a band for only about one year, but it certainly sounds as if they’ve been playing together for a lifetime, or at least long enough to have developed a healthy regard for ’50s lounge, ’60s pop and bossa nova music (which never gets old no matter what era it’s from). The band has released this as a cassette tape, which is an apt format for this type of ethereal pop.
Of course, I’d love to have it on vinyl. The production of it reminds me of Julie London’s records from the 1950s, where the highs and lows meet in the middle and emotion was conveyed only through some strums of a guitar, some gentle reverb and London’s husky voice. Here, we have Ellison’s and Spies’ foggy crooning, backed up by slow acoustic pop melded with sparse electronic music. The Hands That Take You is a perfect blend of cool mood and dreamy possibilities — you’ll want to drift away once the music stops. —Vanessa Salvia