State Radio: Let It Go

By: Dennis Cook

Rarely in music does wearing one's politics on their sleeve turn out well; noble intentions and good music are usually strange bedfellows. But, there are fine exceptions, including Let It Go (released September 29 on Ruff Shod), the third full-length from State Radio, which powers ahead on the same steam that fueled The Clash, Bob Marley, Woody Guthrie, and other notable success stories in the mingling of social agenda and songcraft. With distinct echoes of these ancestors, State Radio has succeeded at the difficult trick of being forthrightly politically and socially progressive AND a blast to listen to.

Many admirable causes set to music have been undone by a preachy tone, clunky, obvious lyrics, or simply their sheer lack of entertainment. It's not that every high-minded song needs to be fun but it doesn't hurt the freeing of minds if people's feet are on the same page. Let It Go freely mingles agit-punk-pop, credible roots reggae, pub ready proletariat shouters, and twisty hard rock into a seriously appealing variety platter. Upheaval of the power hoarding status quo seems both achievable and tuneful as one sways to "Bohemian Grove," lifts a pint high while screaming themselves hoarse on "Knights of Bostonia," or head-nods passionately to "Held Up by the Wires." Led by ex-Dispatch man Chadwick Stokes, the trio plays lean but bold - punk trim but unafraid to soar skyward when the moment demands. Let It Go is potent stuff with the happy pulse of living beings in joyful action.

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[Published on: 11/17/09]

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