Wednesday, January 03, 2007

CD Review: Radio Moscow

The wah-wah pedal looks like a gas pedal and like a gas pedal there's a perilous line between giving it too much too fast and being too timid with it. Too much and you flood the car. Too little and it'll take you several hours to go around the block. Radio Moscow's self titled debut could have been called flooded carburetor. That's right; Parker Griggs has a wah-wah pedal and he's not afraid to use it.

Psychedelic blues rock from Ames, Iowa is better than your usual average heartland rock, and while principal player Griggs is young and ambitious - Radio Moscow came about after he slipped a demo tape to Black Keys guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach - he tends toward an older person's pace with little hint of the danger and excitement truly great rock and roll produces. Radio Moscow's music is a lukewarm bath of bashing blues rock bathed in Bloodrock and Blue Cheer. It aspires for head shop greatness with an appropriately ramshackle sound captured well by Auebach in his studio in Akron, Ohio, but it's just missing a spark. It's like Michael Jackson's "Beat It" without Eddie Van Halen's bitching guitar solo.

My bet is that this bunch, Griggs, bass player Luke Duff, and drummer Mayuko (Gore Gore Girls, Cyril Lords), might just kick out the jams live in a way that would make the studio cuts mere reference points. And reference points are okay. Medical desk references are generally boring until you actually catch a disease and then you're glad you had some background so the doctor couldn't completely fleece you. So pick up Radio Moscow on Alive Records. It might not blow your mind, but if Radio Moscow can bring the noise in concert you'll be just a little more prepared than the person you take to the show.

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