THE RADIO DEPT. play Lee's Palace on Monday (February 7). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Though the Radio Dept. have been making music for nearly a decade, many were introduced to the band through last year's Clinging To A Scheme, their first LP in over four years. For those seduced by that album's gorgeous dream pop, Passive Aggressive serves as a comprehensive refresher course in the Swedish band's satisfying back catalogue.
Divided chronologically into A- and B-sides, the double disc compilation presents a portrait of the band's consistency even as they've evolved. The Radio Dept.'s gentle aesthetic has been so solidified that it's jarring to hear the more visceral, noisy Jesus and Mary Chain-indebted sound on early tracks like Why Won't You Talk About It.
But gradually, as the band shrank from a quartet to a duo, they refined their sound to the basics: warm keyboard tones, gentle, languid vocals and some of the most ear-pleasing songwriting this side of Scandinavia.
Top track: Freddie And The Trojan Horse