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“Radiance” by The Dead Daisies

If you’ve heard it one place, you’ve heard it everywhere; rock n’ roll just isn’t what it used to be. When you’ve got failed rappers becoming pop-punk singers just for the sake of keeping riffage alive, you know there’s a real problem with the rock legacy of yesteryear, but The Dead Daisies are doing their part to address this issue with tracks like “Radiance.” “Radiance” uses a thuggish groove and a stomp-powered riff to give us a thick, molten-hot melody as heavy as the rock gods that once inspired it, and to me, it’s just what this summer really needed to feel well-rounded for fans of all pop music.

The guitars, as one could expect, are smothering in this song, but they have to be in order for the drums to have something to work against. After all, without the foundation created by the distorted melodies in this track, I don’t think the vocal would sound nearly as driven as it does beside the beat – which is arguably what makes the most exciting friction in the mix. It’s not quite as raw as I would think it could be in a live performance, but for the studio, this is a very satisfying teaser.

“Radiance” sports a lead vocal that rides on top of the instrumental grind rather than falling between the melodic components, which is part of the reason why I think the verses are as profound as they are here. There’s nothing particularly virtuosic about this poetry, and yet it feels like we’re listening to a song come undone from the ground up, with little to stop the momentum of the groove as it gathers behind our singer’s voice. The mechanics show off a technical side most bands can’t stand up to, but being that this is a supergroup, it’s par for the course.

I really like the crisp definition of the bottom end in this track, but there’s no question that the bass is bigger than it has to be. Mind you, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – from where I’m sitting, The Dead Daisies never made any promises in “Radiance” as to keep things in the black and white realm of rock composing; if anything, they’re trying to fly a freedom flag with this performance, which requires doing what a lot of their rivals young and old the same just don’t have the moxie to try.

True rockers can spot B.S. a mile away, and when “Radiance” comes through the speakers, it’s more than obvious we’re listening to something that doesn’t just rep blue-collar rock in all of its glory – it’s a product of the aesthetics from which it takes so much. These players helped to set the standard long before The Dead Daisies were an act, and with the continuation of their work in this performance I think we’re getting a second wind in one of the most important genres in all of western pop music; if not the fountainhead for rebel culture as we know it today.

Mindy McCall



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