Go Radio - Lucky Street
Release Date: March 1st 2011 (Fearless Records)
Go Radio’s eagerly anticipated debut full-length, Lucky Street, effortlessly manages to showcase captivating musical elements as well as exceptionally breathtaking vocal performances throughout the entirety of the album’s thirteen track duration. However, for more than the sake of a brief background history, it was a lot of sustained effort to currently arrive at this point. In 2008, the band self published and released their debut EP titled Welcome To Life which amassed quite the critical reception and widespread appeal amongst much of the general public - such positivity didn’t go unnoticed from record labels and Fearless soon signed the talented Tallahassee quartet. Subsequently, a sophomore extended play, Do Overs and Second Chances was released in April of 2010 that showcased slightly more glisten, sparkle and polish that entwined sensationally with the abundance of infectious hooks and inimitable melodies the band offered. If you’re one of those who are currently awaiting Lucky Street with a sense of palpable anticipation and expectation; you should also begin preparing for Go Radio to convincingly surpass them all.
First single and album opener “Lucky Street” begins with the intrusive sound of emergency sirens and frenetic traffic on an overpopulated street which is somewhat ironic given the album title. It isn’t long thereafter that cascading drums, luscious guitar tones and the unmistakable rawness of Jason Lancaster’s vocals are shown the spotlight and refuse to leave. It’s an accessibly solid opener that admittedly plays it safe and stays firmly entrenched within the confines of its comfort zone. The lyrics are meaningful and compelling, but more importantly they’re also open to broad lyrical exploration. With lines such as “Everybody falls and then sways as if to beats/ except for you and me, we’ve got promises to keep here on Lucky Street”. It’s apparent that it’s a relatable tune of vulnerability and regret for as the beats change around you, so do those that listen until nobody is ever the same as we previously remembered them. “Singing With The King” features a soaring chorus that combines splendidly with enticing dual layered vocal melodies to capture a bouncy, energetic and memorable feeling. The vocals are delivered with such emphatic precision and whilst it’s simplistic in overall structure, like a tapestry, its inner melodies and secrets are revealed after those first few initial listens. It’s another step nearer to the pop/punk brilliance this band look to be increasingly capable of delivering.
Although it may not be an instant favourite upon first impressions, “Strength To Stay” showcases a distinct change in vocal delivery within the uniqueness of its chorus. Lancaster puts a noticeable amount of strain and tension on his voice resulting in a higher pitch than he has ever previously experimented with on any prior record. The third and final verse is sensational as vocals soar with intense momentum and passion over a background of wonderful instrumentation from the remaining members of the band which results in a sense of restrained euphoria as Lancaster shouts, “You can’t find the nerve when all you want is to breathe/can we save you?”. Beautifully prominent piano chords signal the opening to “Swear It Like You Mean It” and it isn’t long before it’s evident that the track will be rendered unforgettable in the context of Lucky Street. Lancaster sounds exceptional and the song itself resembles something that could have been located on the band’s previous extended play, Do Overs and Second Chances such is the enormity of its glorious verses and stunning chorus.
To this point, its all been quite overwhelmingly positive but it must also be noted that there are several missteps and negatives that need to be both taken into account and discussed. When it was announced that both “Why I’m Home” and “Forever My Father” would be re-recorded and subsequently included onto the official track list, I immediately had misgivings. How could anything compete with the heart wrenching rawness and intricate emotion of “Forever My Father” when the original is already superb? How could Lancaster’s vocals be anymore vulnerable, beautiful and saturated in sincerity than they are in “Why I’m Home”? How can re-recorded versions of two immeasurably powerful songs possibly compare to their originals in any facet? Quite simply, they don’t. The emotion is lackluster and it all feels too polished which is best exemplified in a cinematic, orchestral feel midway through “Forever My Father.
“Fight, Fight (Reach For The Sky) features a welcoming trumpet that’s prominent throughout the numerous verses the track contains. It’s an energetic, pulsating pop/punk tune with a gigantic chorus and aggressively raw vocals. The aforementioned song is a resounding contrast to the delicate and delightful ballad, “House Of Hallways” which features gentle guitar picking, irresistible vocal harmonies and uncompromising passion. The power behind the track is in its ability to artistically paint vivid imagery with every individual lyric sung. As Lancaster sings with his voice trembling ever so slightly, “I swear that there’s someone who cares here enough to set us free/And if the world don’t turn just enough to bring her honest/then I guess we’re better off forgotten”, you can hear traces of vulnerability and insecurity throughout its contemplative duration. “The Truth Is” concludes the album in romantic and heartfelt style with lyrics of unwavering optimism, adoration and love in it’s most powerful of forms. With lines such as “Cause I’ve had dreams where we collected all the clocks and put them all to bed/Because here inside this moment there is us/There need be nothing else” it’s undoubtedly clear that Lancaster has the ability to write relatable lyrical content that is both expressive and sincere.
Lucky Street is available for purchase on March 1st via Fearless Records.