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Album Review: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song
by Kyle O' Connor

Radiator Hospital has released a plethora of albums that have all been fantastic, and Torch Song is no exception to this streak. Every song is a solid piece of instrumentation. Sam and his lineup of ever changing recording artists collectively put together a melodic and beautiful sounding album. Each song has an 80’s to 90’s pop reminiscent vibe, all while still keeping with a low-key, “underground” punk rock motif.

Previous Radiator Hospital albums have had the same, similar structure to Torch Song. Every song Radiator Hospital has released is an honest look into the songwriter’s thoughts. Songs on the albums are relatively short in length, but not lacking in character. The albums normally begin with a swelling, loud and driving song. In a way, the listener is prepared for more songs that will continue the rising and driving trends. However mid way through, the songs become a bit darker, and the honest lyrics are focused on more, rather than those driving melodies. For Torch Song the opener “Leather and Lace” is upbeat and jumpy. And songs like “Fireworks” bring the jumpy and poppy attitude to a mellow, calm song. There are certainly a lot of guest vocal spots, most if not all are women, such as Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee and her sister Allison Crutchfield of Philadelphia punk band Swearin’.

Radiator Hospital started out as a project created by Sam Cook-Parrot. He recorded lo-fi songs in his bedroom with his instruments and nasally singing voice. Since then, he has had a random lineup of recording artists to also produce his songs, and developed a pretty solid touring lineup. If one was to listen to early recording, the listener would be reminded of a dingy basement show, where the lights flicker because of too much electricity is being used to fuel amplifiers and speaker systems. This sort of DIY motif follows through, but on Torch Song, there is quality recording while still embodying the lo-fi vibes. Inspiration from late 80’s to early 90’s acts is obvious. It is punk rock, but very complicated in the idea that it is inconsistent with what others may consider punk rock, so it may even be labeled as garagerock type of album. Either way, any listener that enjoys any genres it embodies will find him or herself fully engorged by this masterpiece.

This is an album that requires actual listening, for one to completely absorb what Radiator Hospital is about; one must devote the absolute most attention to their work.