KUMD Album Review: The Radio Dept.

Nov 2, 2016

The Radio Dept. | Running Out of Love

Who wants a break from American politics? –All hands go up- Alright, let’s get started. Running Out Of Love is an album composed from social and political unrest, hailing from one of the few places that could rival Duluth for being the most victimized by winter: Sweden.

The Radio Dept.’s latest release, Running Out Of Love comes from a background of political turmoil currently brewing in the Scandinavian nation. A conservative political group, mockingly named Sweden Democrats, continues to gain momentum within the Swedish community. The party is a nationalist group that grew from the neo-Nazi movement and is staunchly for anti-migration. The Sweden Democrats have perfectly created an atmosphere for a new version of protest music to emerge through the face of The Radio Dept. The album is the bands’ first since 2010 and battled its own way into the public eye after the label held off the release over disputes of the political messages that saturate Running Out Of Love.

The album starts out with “Sloboda Narodu” translated to “Freedom of the People”, pointing out the intolerance growing within the Swedish public against political parties pushing racial agendas. The track is followed by “Swedish Guns” echoing the album artwork; the lyrics paint a universal picture of political unrest, “Guess what burned it down, The Swedish guns and every life they took with Swedish guns, now everywhere you look its Swedish guns.”

An increase in gun sales has occurred in Sweden, like in many European countries, perfectly alongside the increased percentage of immigrants fleeing their home lands. The Radio Dept. attempts to lead the blind to their own conclusions on what these arms sales actually mean for their country’s future and the future of those starting new lives as outsiders.

“Committed to the Cause” rings out as a low-key anthem declaring that although human life is a fleeting thing, ideas always live on. “Committed to the cause; take this heart, take this soul, just bare parts of this doll.” The Radio Dept. sounds an alarm against a possible dystopia from forming in Sweden.

The album has all the tell-tale signs of a punk band preaching against the establishment. Interestingly enough, where The Clash addresses themes of injustice through a cool delivery of biting phrases or the way Black Flag’s gritty guitar chords instill a more savage form of protest, The Radio Dept. delivers their message in a calm ferocity. Johan Duncanson’s voice slides over soothing synths that seemingly pop the listener back to the 80s. The band practically embodies peaceful protest in their latest release giving a new form to music in revolt.