taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

THE RADIALS — Five More Miles

You could call the Radials’ self-titled debut album a work-inprogress that probably saw daylight before its time. Its heart was in the right place, but the overcooked country sound was hard to listen to on occasion. Shortly after, the band itself became a work in progress. On their new EP Five More Miles, only guitar and mandolin player Shawn Patch remains from the original lineup, and the band boasts a tighter and much more effortless sound on the four tracks within. Patch’s countrypolitan guitar sound isn’t overcomplicated by the intermittent presence of keyboards, lap and pedal steel, and accordion; instead the appointment of every instrument is carefully considered to create a fluidity that allows new vocalist Aubrey Shamel’s lilting voice to stand out on the two track on which she’s featured. “I’ll Get Over You” soars with Patch at the instrumental controls, multi-instrumentalist Drew Wofford filling in the spaces between Shamel’s self-affirmative verses and her own acoustic strumming ambling underneath. Bassist Todd Eric Verts provides the bristlier foil to her sweetness on “Isabella” and closer “Outlast the Bastards.” The latter throws it back to the boogie-inflected groove of the first album with great riffs and a strong piano bridge, but also dials up some of the same inconsistencies of the old Radials. You could drive a pickup truck through the holes in the vocals on the final verse, and the song ends about 15 seconds after it should have with a sort of silly chant that saps the casual verve the song puts forth. Aside from the occasional overreach, it’s still a really good effort that the new and improved Radials could surely build upon for their follow-up album.