Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not My Home

Rademacher, Stunts, self-released [12/4/07]

What if we all drove sportscars / and lived in amuse-
ment parks / and we always did right / and never did
wrong / and every song was only three minutes long?
-- Rademacher, "Not My Home"

They're from Fresno, God help them. The best thing
for them to do is get famous, and get the hell out.
-- Fallen Not Broken

It's not my home, it's theirs. That's because this guitar-based quartet hails from Fresno. Though I wasn't raised in California, I did live in Daly City (just outside San Francisco) for a year, and
I used to visit the area often, so I have some familiarity with Northern California, but I've never been south of Carmel. That said, Stunts isn't really about California (Fresno or otherwise).

It's about more universal concerns, like the passage of time
and the desire to stave off the nine-to-five life. Hey, I can rel-
ate. I don't wanna grow old. Nor do I wanna work in an office.

As Malcolm Sosa sings—referencing the Talking Heads—in "Today Is Dif-
ferent, "Now time may not
be holding us / but time is
not a friend I trust / I nev-
er liked him much / No I
never liked him much."

[In "Once in a Lifetime," David Byrne sings,
"Time isn't holding us / time isn't after us."]

In "On Yr Marks," Sosa sighs, "I've got a couple thoughts in
my head / if I didn't I guess I'd be dead or at work / wear-
ing a button down shirt." I hear you, brother. I hear you.

It's to Rademacher's credit that I can cite their lyrics without making them look bad. Songwriting is an elusive skill. It's not that a lot of musicians can't do it. There are millions who can. They add their words to music, and off they go. Those lyrics, as sung, may sound just fine. They may even make perfect sense. But when you read them as prose or poetry, they fall apart—they fail to scan.

I'm not claiming Rademacher are the world's greatest lyricists, but they're quite good. They have something to say, they know how to say it, and they know how to make it work musically. There's some humor, there's some insight. It's harder than it looks.

As for the music, it sounds good, too, and Sosa's vocals meld pop melodicism with rock urgency. He reminds me of someone, but I can't put my finger on who. His bandmates include Greer McGettrick (bass), Brad Basmajian (guitar), and Eli Reyes (drums).

Stunts producer Aaron Espinoza (Earlimart) has al-
so worked with Elliot Smith, Kim Deal, and Lou Barlow.

Rademacher are in the same vicinity. If anything, they sound more like Earlimart, but with a harder edge. Less distinctive than Espinoza's other clients, perhaps, but they're on their way. They've been around for three years, three EPs, and countless gigs—and their experience shows.

If Rademacher can maintain the quality displayed on their first full-length release, they've got a bright future ahead of them. That is, of course, easier said than done, and office jobs may be just around the corner. Then again, as Sosa sings in "If U Got Some Magic," "Some questions are tough." Or as he seems to answer himself in "Letter to Fresno," "I guess we'll have to wait and see."

What if we stopped wearing underwear / and gave up trying
to comb our hair / and we just went to the movies everyday / when was the last time we went to the movies anyway?
-- Rademacher, "Not My Home"

Endnote: For more information, please see the official Rademacher website or their MySpace Page. Images from
Inflight at Night (click to download "If U Got Some Magic"),
Google Images, and the band's site (Rachael Olmstead credited). Stunts is available for pre-order ($10 including P&H) direct-
ly from the group. And to watch the Talking Heads's artfully schizophrenic video for "Once in a Lifetime," please click here.

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