A French-Canadian hip-hop collective that drifts between French and English mid-sentence and is backed by beats that sound straight from Animal Collective must be a pretty hard sell. Fortunately Radio Radio are very smooth salesmen. I don’t even know what they’re saying half the time and I’m still hooked, that’s how damn good these songs are.
An arguably darker and more complex release than Belmundo Regal, Havre de Grace is nonetheless a major step-up. This is a supremely confident record, infinitely more mature and challenging than it’s predecessor; where once their concerns extended merely to luggage they now channel their greater experience into an album that is markedly more eclectic and experimental.
These experiments pay off, crafting are some of the most infectious beats I’ve heard all year and wrapped around the bands typically smooth, effortless and effervescently ingenious lyrical style. Taking their melding of French and English to another level they now flow in between languages with the greatest of ease, creating a singular style that instantly grabs your attention. It’s testament that, with a band where you can only grasp snippets, the songs grab completely, each track a pulsing, pounding melting pot of magisterial musicianship. Sometimes with hip-hop the music can take something of a backseat to the rhymes, not here. I’m not joking when I say that musically I think this may well outdo Centipede Hz. Generally it may well outdo that. And that was a damn good album. I was even gonna review it until I stumbled on this.
And stumble I did, I didn’t even realise they’d made another album until I was listening to it. Sometimes this whole indie thing can be a real drag. Seriously, more people need to hear this band, they could make it big, god knows they’re good enough. French thing could be trouble though. But really that’s an insignificance, this band have a sound and it’s a damn fine one, they shouldn’t compromise one inch. Nor have they, with the release pushing further to sonic extremes than before but managing to strike a balance between being ‘interesting’ and accessible.
In terms of the genre the only album I’ve heard in the past few years that can compete is Kanye West’s supremely superlative My Beautiful Dark Fantasy, this may not quite scale those heights but realistically only a few in a decade ever do and that release was buoyed by the fact I could understand the lyrics. The fact I’m even comparing them with that fact in mind is testament to just how good Havre De Grâce is.