Radio Moscow - Brain Cycles CD

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Tracklisting:

  1. Just Don't Know
  2. Broke Down
  3. The Escape
  4. No Good Woman
  5. Brain Cycles
  6. 250 Miles
  7. Hold on Me
  8. Black Boot
  9. City Lights
  10. No Jane

Release Date: April 14, 2009

Label: Alive Records

Origin: USA

Call it blues rock, call it psychedelic, call it hard-grooved stoner rock. Call it whatever the hell you want, as long as you just call it ROCK. Iowa-based Radio Moscow's second album,Brain Cycles, crashed onto my horizon a couple of weeks ago and shows no indication of departing any time soon. Discovered by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, their sound bears unquestionable similarities. But whereas The Black Keys play a noisy, stripped-down two-man blues rock, Radio Moscow is something else entirely -- the rebirth of the power trio.

Comprised of singer/songwriter/guitarist Parker Griggs, drummer Corey Berry and bassist Zach Anderson, Radio Moscow plays like Cream on steroids. It's pounding, grooving, blissed-out rock, full of whammy bar and wah-wah. Their sound doesn't call for ass-shaking -- it demands it. What's even better is they're showing signs of evolving. Their first eponymous album was decent, if uneven. Their sophomore effort maintains the dirty, throwback-to-Marshall-Stack sound, but shows polish in their playing and songwriting.

Brain Cycles grabs the listener right from the get-go, with it's brilliant opening track "I Just Don't Know," a squelching, fuzzy guitar riff running through it, full of crescendoing segments that are rock and roll glory. Right around the end of the first minute, there's one of those great pauses, immediately followed by Griggs giving a "WOO!" signaling the song kicking into a higher gear. It's filled with rolling basslines and glorious guitar solos.

It doesn't really let up the gas, either. It's not fast paced rock, but it's undeniably heavy -- the second track, "Broke Down," proves that beautifully. Similarly, "250 Miles" is somewhere a drawn out, instrumental affair that emphasizes what feels like a five-minute guitar solo, replete with crashing cymbals and bass that's good for humping. The eight minute-plus epic, "No Good Woman" is bluesy, stoner rock nirvana, complete with vocal effects, a kickin' drum solo, and a filthy guitar. Think Zeppelin meets Cream meets Mastodon... or something like that.

However you want to spin it, whatever you want to label it, Radio Moscow rocks. No doubt, they're a throwback to another age. But in many they also have a sound that has to appeal to any guitar rock fan of any era. The lyrics are good, but they're merely the dressing. The sound is the near-perfect formula of guitar+bass+drums=rock. Don't let it pass you by. - TK (Pajiba.com May 6, 2009)