The Radio Dept. and waking up dreaming More
Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
The Answering Machines supporting The Radio Dept. Future Everything at The Deaf Institute, Manchester
The Radio Dept. were to feature in the first Dalliance review five years ago - they cancelled the gig – and have remained elusive since. The proposal of seeing them in one of the North's best venue The Deaf Institute in Manchester seemed to promise more than it could ever deliver.
The Swedes take their blend of fuzzed up guitar, circa-1988 electronic backing and whispered lyrics on the road infrequently but in the last year seemed to up output from the studio with both studio album Clinging to a Scheme and collection Passive Aggressive emerging from Lund.
Before that is Manchester's The Answering Machine who take a risk with their set playing to the main band's fans with collection of song's to match the mood. They are less energetic than previously and will have better nights than this.
Which is not to say that the three guys and a gal do not make a good noise, but they seem ill at ease with what they are doing where as they have looked so comfortable.
Then The Radio Dept. The four piece appear as a three - one reportedly not liking touring at all, causing the cancellation of the last set of Northern English gigs in 2006 - shuffling onto stage to take up guitar, bass and keyboard. There is a duskiness to proceedings as the bright sunlight that bathed their support fades.
Interaction is brief between anticipatory audience and seemingly criminally shy band. Occasionally instructions are passed to the sound man but these come in Swedish, which is apologised for.
A rich catalogue is reduced with little mercy. Domestic Scene starts the gig with a hush and a reverence. Three songs in and The New Improved Hypocrisy has both band and audience in comfort zones.
The fuzz of guitar both hides and reveals. Enveloping the band in a pocket of hissing The Radio Dept. seem to seep into the mind rather than enter the head through the ears. They are a sense more than a sensation, more reaction than a realisation.
In lament 1995 there is a hunt at why the Swedes distance themselves from their audience. It is in the crack of the voice on the line "Although I'm happier now I always go sometimes/back to 1995."
After 1995 there is an ease in the auditorium. Worst Take In Music is applauded from the first mention, Heaven's On Fire is a small scale Livin' On A Prayer. It is easy street for the band now having tentatively exposed a crack from which one could glimpse of their heart, their soul;
As with a dream though that crack is fleeting, and perhaps never happened. Perhaps it was just the mind playing tricks, filling in the gaps of hazy half memory.
They depart the stage not to return. No encore, which unsettled some but seems some how apt. If The Radio Dept. capture the feel of a dream then the sudden end completes that.
The judder back into the world, the sense of remembering something more in emotion.
The idea at the back of your mind that you just cannot bring into focus but that swirl in your head, setting your mood for days to come.