When we were putting the list together for Flashback Friday some albums were obvious thanks to being some of the best music we’d ever heard, and others jumped out because they were amongst the most unique records we’d heard at the time. In the case of ‘Bounce Energy Hear Me Out’ I don’t think I’ve heard a record like it since either.
Lady Radiator are a difficult band to label; the closest I can manage is a flamboyant cousin of At the Drive-In who’s yet to pick who they want to be in life. Kenny Ramirez’s quirky vocals have a Cedric Bixler vibe to them and the trebly guitars and tempo dynamics flirt with early post-hardcore, but there are too many tangents at play to fit them into one box.
You think you’ve got the formula worked out by the time ‘Elude’ comes around – the frantic vocals and jangly guitars starting to strike a consistent pattern – but then quirky acoustic track ‘Ships Are For Sailing Not Leaving’ makes you return to the lab for more testing. A total departure from the tracks before it, the borderline out-of-tune guitars and simplistic chords shouldn’t work but it becomes one of the most memorable tracks on the record.
The second half is where the record really starts to come into its own. Each passing track has the potential to become your new favourite from the album and such a strong ending makes you immediately want to go back for more. The vocals, which I can perfectly understand might make you stop the record in its early moments, really grow on you as the tracks roll by and at the end of the album, you can’t imagine this band working with anyone else but Ramirez behind the microphone.
Lady Radiator fall under the “enigmatic bands” category within my record collection. There’s nothing particularly special about these bands and pretty much all of them released one album and then disappeared, never to be seen again. There are more of these bands coming in the Flashback Friday series because despite none of them making a major impact in the scene, their records are indescribably addictive and special.
One common theme that’s shared among these enigmatic bands is that because they’re mysterious, they’re always memorable. ‘Bounce Energy Hear Me Out’ is a lot of fun and because it never really fit in to any genre or style it has never aged either. If you weren’t exposed to this record a decade ago, give a whirl now and see what you think.