The religious aspect of ‘Radlands’ is inescapable. From the title track opener of Blaine whispering “we’ll be together until hell freezes over” to upbeat ‘Sister Everett’ you can’t help but feel that the band have been wrestling with their faith during the song writing period, making some of the songs feel intensely personal. ‘The Nothing’ is a Bowie-esque drift away from some of the more melancholy songs, while ‘The Hale Bop’ is infused with so much enjoyment it’s impossible not to grin. The only wrong step is ‘Greatest Hits’ which simply feels like an attempt to reference as many different things in three minutes, but then other people have picked it out as the best song on the album, maybe I’m missing some of the wit there. I could be reading too far into the album but ‘Take Me Where The Roses Grow’ feels like more than a subtle nod to Nick Cave’s duet with Kylie Minogue on ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’, whether it’s the boy/girl vocals or the shared affinity with flowers.
The change of scenery for the recording of the album (Radlands was recorded in Austin, Texas) makes it feels more polished and almost as if the band have reached a kind of maturity, away from the raw sexuality of ‘Serotonin’ and the ‘sweet’ indie pop of ‘Twenty One’ and ‘Making Dens’. This is album is filled with brilliant song after brilliant song and I could gush about it for a very long time. By the time you have reached the end, following the torturously beautiful ‘Luminescence’, you’ll just want to go straight back to the beginning again.