With drums that start out like ‘We Will Rock You’ and a huge insistent riff opener ‘American Gun’ has a nice impact and showcases well the wonderful vocals of George Panagopoulos. Next up ‘Disclosure’ is a more complex proposition, dynamic, alive and built on incessant bass it bristles with life and threatens to explode without quite taking that small step from great to essential. It’s a great opening to an album.
Radio Free Universe may be a modern rock band but in their music you can see strands drawn from everywhere – from classic rock to seventies rock to the arena sound of the eighties, even a touch of Grunge. It’s all in there but all stamped with their own personality. What they do best of all though is set up that huge groove that you can build anything from, and they use it to create some great music.
There’s also a nice variety on offer here too from the heavy hitters like ‘American Gun’ or ‘Dirty Little Things’ through the more complex ‘almost AOR’ of ‘Disclosure’ to the real dirty groove and rhythm of the bluesier numbers like ‘Rythm And Bones’ and the wonderful ‘Magnolia Girl’. Closing with the acoustic ‘Armageddon Road’ also just adds that poignancy as a codicil.
Radio Free Universe do as well as anyone in deconstructing hard rock and putting it back together in way that is neither derivative or trite. Indeed you could argue that in the hands of a band like this what is essentially bluesy hard rock is in pretty safe hands.