By Brian Heisler
Of the handful of bands still getting it done after three decades of work, very few can boast the exact original lineup. With a little gray hair and a couple fluffy beards, The Radiators are meshing today just as they were in 1978. Lead singer Ed Volker's voice is, well, radiating throughout the entire album. His voice rings true with deepness, a little bit of wear, and a wholesome feeling of the band's prideful home of New Orleans. Dreaming Out Loud transcends as a great tribute to the Crescent City and musically as a very positive helping hand to lift the spirits of the city's many exhausted souls. With titles such as "Ace in the Hole," "Dreaming Out Loud," "Good Things," and "Shine Tonight," The Radiators keep the mood bright and hopeful.
Appropriately, "Ace in the Hole" is the first track of the album and maybe the biggest fan-favorite. It's a great sing-songy piece with full sounds, stretching Volker's voice. The background keys are reminiscent of many Elvis Costello songs, and the songwriting keeps up as well. Continuing the numbers game, track seven, "7 Devils," is another defining cut, but much rougher and darker. Camile Baudoin cuts a classic guitar riff that makes this song. The more I hear Volker's voice, the more I feel like he could be narrating children's Halloween films. For that matter, "Don't Pray for Me" seems like a leading track for a major tear-jerking film. Insisting in the lyrics that there are people in much greater need of prayer, the idea of the selfless being represents the idea of the strong souls dealing with the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Again, the NOLA, positive, go-getter attitude comes out in "The Death of the Blues." This song starts out slow and somber with just an organ and an acoustic guitar, then jumps into a moving rock tune. "Desdemona" breaks out an easy-going banjo piece, and "Good Things" and "Shine Tonight" justly end Dreaming Out Loud on a happy note.
The live presence of The Radiators is what has kept the band going and drawn fans over the years. The music of The Radiators somehow just seems so convincing, like a preacher in good times or bad, as Volker sings on "Dreaming Out Loud," "Soul survivor, now don't look so sad. Our music is all we've ever had." When the band hits the stage, that feeling sings through the air; their swamp-rock is always bouncing, simply getting happy feet moving and faces smiling. Maybe the attention on New Orleans has finally caused us to appreciate lasting acts such as The Radiators.
JamBase | NOLA
Go See Live Music!