RADIATION ROMEOS…hmmm, now where have I heart that before? Oh yes, could it have something to do with singer Parramore “Perry” McCarty formerly fronting Steve Stevens’ solo band ATOMIC PLAYBOYS back in the day? If you said, “YES!” then congratulations, you’re as old as me! But anyway, McCarty’s new band may take their name from the signature song “Atomic Playboys” from 1989, but that’s where the similarities end. This is a Melodic Hard Rock group whose self-titled debut album (out now, Frontiers Music) is all about rocking summer jams, which always fits right in Maestro’s wheelhouse. Rounding out the group are members Dag Heyne (guitars), Jogi Spittka (bass), and Gereon Homann (drums), all of whom play their parts well.
As far as the songs go there were some I really couldn’t get enough of, some I like well enough, and one or two that just didn’t do it for me. I look at it this way: it’s the debut record, and rarely are those ever a home run. Opening things up is the title track/band namesake/intro to the world, and it’s a rockin’ little number heavy on the guitar licks. Immediately after is the first one I heard and probably my favorite on the disc, “Ocean Drive.” The lyrics paint a picture of sun-drenched California driving with the top down and your lady right there next to you. In my mind they’re on their way to a beach in Malibu, cooler full of cold ones in the back, and ready to rock into summer. I was also massively impressed with McCarty’s vocals. The guy can still belt it out.
On the ballad front I was completely mesmerized by “Like An Arrow.” Again, McCarty’s vocals carry the song to amazing heights, especially on the pre-chorus making this another winning cut. And ya gotta love that key change at the four minute mark for old time’s sake. “Promised Land” is interesting because it clocks in at just over six minutes, has an ancient Egyptian vibe going on, and reminded me of old BLUE MURDER. It’s also hard not to like “Ghost Town,” a blues-tinged acoustic-electric rocker that surely packs a punch with a big hook to boot. Another album standout is definitely “Til the End of Time.” An undying declaration of love set against a Melodic Rock-AOR riff and beat, this will be going on my “Back Deck Summer Grilling” playlist for years to come.
Now with all there was to love about this disc, there were a couple that I just wasn’t feeling no matter how hard I tried. “On the Tight Rope” was an exercise in Lyrical Cliches 101, “Bad Bad Company” was just okay, and I have no idea WHAT the hell is going on with closer “Monstertraxx.” But really those are minor blemishes on what is otherwise a rather impressive debut. Plus, it’s fun to listen to. Remember when that was the rule, not the exception? Nowadays a lot of records are three good tracks surrounded by a bunch of filler. Happy to report this one’s the opposite. RADIATION ROMEOS is available now, so grab yours today, fire up the grill, drink some beers (and shots, DUH!) and sail into summer!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Ocean Drive”, “Like An Arrow”, “Til the End of Time”, “Promised Land”