The Radio Dept. play detachment off fleeting melodies to create engaging dream pop | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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The Radio Dept. play detachment off fleeting melodies to create engaging dream pop



If not for the longing and deep-seated dread characteristic of many dream-pop songs, artists like the Radio Dept. would float right out of our collective consciousness like a lost balloon—there’d be nothing to keep them grounded and present among the overlapping celestial washes of synthesizers and vocals if not for the foil of gloom. Blending a detached cool with Krautrock-vibing rhythms and heavy hues of synth, the Swedish duo of Johan Duncanson and Martin Carlberg create engaging and enveloping melodies. And memorable ones at that (see “Where Damage Isn’t Already Done”). Their most recent full-length, 2016’s Running Out of Love (Troubador), is an example of astute songwriting that plays shoegaze-like elements off danceable ones through chilling electronic beats. On first approach, “Occupied” has an almost playful sinisterness—nothing to keep you away from an LED dance floor. But once you go four minutes deep into its seven minutes, this standout track begins to feel more like an ornate, haunting maze—which only helps to magnify its beauty.   v

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