Radar State is a new powerhouse band that consists of Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic of The Get Up Kids, Josh Berwanger of The Anniversary, and Adam Phillips of The Architects. Each of these guys has been in the game for quite some time. The Get Up Kids’ Something to Write Home About turns 20 this year, to put things into perspective.
Strays feels like a cohesive album even with the tradeoffs at lead vocals. No matter who is singing, you get what this album is all about. “What’s a Rebel” is a jam that feels like it could be a summer anthem. As soon as the hook comes in, energy courses through you. I found it hard to sit still while listening to the song because it just makes you want to jump. If I were sitting while listening to it, I’d either have my head bobbing along to the beat or had my feet bouncing up and down. It’s just that catchy.
It was until college that I really thought about albums fitting certain seasons. And I chalk that up to the fact that growing up in California, it never really felt like we had seasons. When I was in Philadelphia that whole idea became more clear to me. Something like Through Being Cool was a classic summer album. Several songs on this album give me that same feeling. Plus, the album harkens back to that style of old school pop punk.
“Self Hurt Guru” has a sense of urgency about it. It’s the shortest song on the record and the drums and guitars just power right through it. Coming at the halfway point, it leads directly to the second part of the album with ease. At this point, the record doesn’t feel like it’s letting up at all.
“Victims of Fashion” plays on the state of the scene these days. With the guys in this band being so experienced, it touches on how there are always younger kids eager for the opportunity. “Kids in line will gladly take our place” is how the band feels if they don’t go out on any particular night. They also don’t want to compromise because of the experience they have. It’s a nice look at what their thoughts are on the music industry these days because while the scene might only be a small part of it, it’s still part of it.
Pryor’s voice is distinctive, and you can easily note the change in vocalist, it’s never distracting to the point where it throws off the album. It would have been more surprising to me if this group stuck with one vocalist. Frankly, it would’ve been a waste of their talent, so I’m glad they didn’t do that. Instead, we get an album that showcases what they’re all capable of. Strays is a solid album through and through.