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Finding Something New on the 'Radio'

Punk and its offshoots are hardly the only subgenres of rock 'n' roll that can sound great while still sounding like hell. But they're the only ones that hold up the do-it-yourself ethos as a totem, rather than something borne out of necessity and meant to be set aside at the earliest availability.

New York's Looker embraces the DIY approach on "Radio," and it seems at first that the band's enthusiasm outpaces its abilities. The guitars sound a touch tentative, the drums are too sloppy to provide a rock-solid authority, and the production doesn't do much more than slap the pieces together and pray that they'll stick.

But the song works anyway, thanks to Looker's melodic sense, an original take on a hoary topic (instead of mythologizing radio, the group holds it up as a simple signpost that helps it get its bearings in the wider environment), and the tinge in Boshra Alsaadi's voice as she sings about someone who may be in the process of failing to become a good man. Those subtle virtues are harder to acquire than mere production skill, which suggests that "Radio" represents the first flowering of a band on its way to better things, instead of the lone blaze of one without more to offer.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marc Hirsh
Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.