It’s a begrudging thing to tuck a group into the padded
envelope labeled “Cult Bands”. But there is no better rubric with which
to drop New Radiant Storm King under. They’ve been rumbling along for almost 20
years now to the delight of their hardcore fans and to the general disregard of
the musical intelligentsia.
This is not to
disparage the band, as they’ve also managed to maintain their place as one of
the most consistent groups to come out of the crowded alternative rock scene of
the early ’90s. This new album fits well into the band’s tidy discography,
shimmering with spacey guitar lines while remaining tethered to Earth by their
unrelenting rhythm section (the only members that have not been with NRSK since
their inception in 1990).
What is amazing about this album is how it gathers strength
as it goes on. The first few songs feel skittish and hurried – particularly the
hyperactive tempo of “Senseless”. But by the time they reach the
halfway mark with the dreamy instrumental “New Paltz Waltz”, the band
has sharpened its attack. Even the lighter, slower numbers feel more full and
purposeful, combining their influences of ’60s pop and the bands from the ’80s
Paisley Underground movement.
Standout Tracks: “New
Paltz Waltz,” “Midnight Comes,” “Senseless” ROBERT HAM