(feat. track – “Lucky Street” [spotify])

I’m having a little trouble coming up with anything new to say about Lucky Street; I loved it from the very first listen, and wrote an unqualified rave** about it back in March, and my feelings haven’t changed in the least. It seems like most years there’s an album that I listen to in the first few months of the year, and just know that no matter what else I hear over the remainder of the year it’s going to land near the top of my list.  (In 2010 it was Motion City Soundtrack’s My Dinosaur Life.)

The whole album just bristles with energy; the production is snappy, punchy, taut like a guitar string about to pop, everything the sound of electricity snapping across a gap in the wires.  Moment after moment of eye-clenching intensity, tension and release, tension and release. I know they’re coming and they still get me every time, no matter how many times I listen Lucky Street never seems to lose that power.

At a time when most bands seem to be stripping down, Go Radio are unabashedly big-sounding, sharp and clean but menacingly large, like a tight end making cuts downfield.  Aside from the very occasional flourish, this isn’t about filling out a sound with lots of instruments; Lucky Street’s feel comes from taking the basic guitar/bass/drums and ratcheting them up to comic book sizes, not in an echoey atmospheric 80’s inspired way, but in some much more primal manner, one that induces instinctual response (that response is frequently something along the lines of “sing a line really loudly and inappropriately and then wonder why everyone is staring at me”).  It’s the first of the band’s recording that matches the scape of Jason Lancaster’s songwriting, all grand moves and soaring choruses. Like a wave crashing down over me, I get lost in it’s churning power, I find myself having been swept away and unable to account for the lost time.

Lucky Street pushes the same synaptic buttons for me that so many of my all-time favorite albums do, from early teen years favorites like Live’s Mental Jewelry and Our Lady Peace’s Naveed right up on through last year’s list-topping Foxy Shazam. It’s basically tailor-made for my aesthetic preferences. There’s no way I couldn’t have loved it.

review of Lucky Street (published 3/01/11)

*I’m not a fan of the whole Deluxe Edition game, an old label trick to get superfans who already bought an album to pay for it a second time, and I’m doubly dubious in this case because a) Lucky Street is absolutely perfect as is, in both length and sequence (which is changed up slightly on the Deluxe Edition) and b) because the best of the added tracks can be found elsewhere.  ”Ready Or Not” is on the band’s Welcome To Life EP, “Goodnight Moon” is on their Do-Overs And Second Chances EP, and their cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” was released only months before the reissue on the Punk Goes Pop 4 compilation.  There are only two new tracks, and then a couple of demo/acoustic versions of tracks on the original album. That said, both “Goodnight Moon” and “Rolling In The Deep” are absolutely essential tracks in the Go Radio catalog, so if you’re only going to own one Go Radio CD, you might as well pick up the Deluxe Edition.

**Looking back, there’s a lot of things I don’t like about the review I wrote; it’s clunky and disjointed and reads too much like one of those awful track-by-track reviews at times, and I think I overrelied on snippets of lyrics while simultaneously doing a poor job of contextualizing them. I find it harder to write about albums I love through and through than I do about albums with even niggling flaws. But there’s some nuggets of gold in there too.