Short sharp shock is the primary philosophy Brooklyn’s Radio 4 unleash on their 2002 album Gotham. Appropriately titled, the post punk Noo Yoik angst transmits aesthetics as dour as a Monday bank holiday stuck in a bedsit with Stephen Gerrard and Damien Duff as company, with the mildly unfair Gang Of Four label sitting just below the waterline for back up. Track 4 Dance To The Underground is the type of inductee piece found midway through the year on Uncut or Mojo compilation CDs, grabbing astonished, and probably thankful throats, after far too much acoustic chic has left the palate in a veritably queasy mode.
Wirey is the suitable metaphor for an edgy rumble through post apocalyptic New York streets once occupied by Sol Yurick’s and Walter Hill’s Warriors, this time it’s Anthony Roman’s lip biting bolshy boys who come to play, while the dust still settles on year zero for their dismayed city. The battle cry for a new breed becomes clear in the antagonism towards the previously structuralist myopia
He let her fly a new regime
Become a lecturist and venture towards extreme
Radio 4 are coming out to play in the industrial drizzle, James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy send them into the nocturnal snakepit with enough shrapnel to tear eardrums to shreds
You want to try some different scene
Well count your blessings, don’t get caught between
How could anyone mistake this band for another bunch of whiney post adolescent mallrats? Just listening to them from 20 paces off is enough for sweat to seep through a faux street-gang hoody brought back from the big apple by some trying too hard to be hip relative. Allmusic‘s Peter J. D’Angelo is is no way stingy at what he sees in the group’s document of a city’s youth refusing to become liminal political fodder “Half dance party, half political rally, Gotham! is a rock record for a new era. Radio 4 may have their heads in the past, but the music is still decidedly forward-thinking and it puts the group at the top of their class in the rebirth of rock”.
Dance To The Ungerground has enough verstility to shake off the albatross label despite being the group’s closest thing to a well known song. It sits on the album politely waiting its turn to bite and growl, as soon as the moment arrives, 4 minutes and 52 seconds of that wirey pyschosomatic floor filling, alley crawling, feral cat scratch manfesto for an angry New York hammers home their part of the deal; get with the gang or piss on someone else’s tree. Radio 4 don’t shift the tempo for nobody.