Radiation City – Synesthetica (2016): Review


Label – Polyvinyl

Formed in 2010, Portland’s Radiation City have been forging a reputation for sweet dream/synth pop and their third long player “Synesthetica” may be the point at which they break out from beyond the confines of the occasional bloggers compliments to a mainstream audience they richly deserve. The combination of Elisabeth Ellison’s illusory 60s melodies and 80s synth accompaniment is an intoxicating mix that reminds the listener of a nostalgic back track to a more colorful musical era. Indeed, Ellison has claimed she sees her music in color, which explains the album title. “Synesthetica” is a neurological condition where the stimulation of one sense leads to a chain reaction of others. With the odd otherworldly synth blip and beep there’s a gentle correlation with “Moon Safari” era Air. The arrangements are fleshed out with the odd funk bassline on the gorgeous opener “Oil Show”, synth strings compliment the soaring chorus of “Butter”, and there’s an impressive nod to Astrid Gilberto’s gentle bossa nova styling for the introduction to “Separate”. Shamelessly geared towards the pop market, there’s a refreshing air of willingness to expand on what are fundamentally quality tunes, whilst maintaining just the right amount of quaint indie individualism.

Assured, astute, at times warmly touching, “Synesthetica” manages to hit the pleasure center with every probe.


Track Listing
A1 Oil Show 4:07
A2 Juicy 4:34
A3 Butter 4:02
A4 Come and Go 4:32
B1 Milky White 3:57
B2 Sugar Broom 3:58
B3 Separate 5:46
B4 Futures 3:10
B5 Fancy Cherries 4:10

2 responses to “Radiation City – Synesthetica (2016): Review

  1. I think you’d like it and it’s a nice diversion from some of the tough listens in 1001…for me it’s The Mekons right now (ugh)

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