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Paul Stimpson

Dark Black Make Up

Paul Stimpson, Features Writer

Formed in Missouri and made in Sheffield, three piece rock band Radkey have released their debut album on Little Man Records, and what a record it is.

The band began an affinity with Sheffield after supporting Drenge in 2013, and subsequently met Ross Orton, a Sheffield based producer working out of McCall Sound Studios in the Steel City.

The band freely admits the album is full of last minute songs. A sudden bout of inspiration during the Sheffield studio sessions has produced a litany of solid rock and roll tracks.

Opener and album title track, Dark Black Make-Up is a classic mid tempo rock tune. Shades of Queens of the Stone Age are apparent, as Dee Radke strokes a simple riff on his guitar and laments the attitude of the younger generation.

Romance Dawn immediately follows and sounds like a Drenge hit. Dee's guitar drives this song on a forward charge, as Isaiah Radke grooves behind him on bass. The tempo changes from fast, to a slow middle 8 section - an explosive final chorus and a guitar solo ends a strong start to their debut album.

With barely enough time to digest what I've just heard, Love Spills certifies itself as an instant classic and, later on, an album highlight.

Any introduction that includes a dirty guitar solo is fine by me. This track is the type of rock tune that makes your face crumple up and your stomach turn (in a good way.)

''Love spills and it looks so pretty, I got a feeling that it makes me dizzy'' a simple, catchy hook for a truly sexy rock and roll song. The guitar solo that follows should be illegal - it's that sensual.

From this point on I am expecting this album to tail off and feature some standard album track mediocrity. I was wrong, and had to push my midday appointment back to truly soak up the rest of this album's magnificence.

Best Friends guitar riff chomps you up and spits you out, despite being quite a pleasant song lyrically. Musically, every component deserves a special mention. It is what I imagine the soundtrack to the Devil's Barbeque would sound like - and that's meant in complimentary terms.

Hunger Pain shows that Radkey aren't all about gut busting rock and roll. This song showcases a nice melody and a steady tempo with Dee Radke singing about a loved one.

Later on, Radkey turn into Iron Maiden as Glore leaps through the speakers and punches me right in the nose. A high tempo track with a metal riff leading the way - but the finest moment of this song is a minute in and Solomon Radke switches the tempo in a blink of an eye.

The album ends with Feel which shows their punk prowess. Reminiscent of The Ramones with slightly more distortion, this band should be set to share some of their legacy.

Radkey play Reading and Leeds Festival this weekend.

Top ten to watch at Reading and Leeds

You can catch Radkey on tour this autumn:

29th/30th-Aug Reading and Leeds Festivals
31st-Aug Rough Trade, Nottingham

1st-Sept The Old Blue Last. London SOLD OUT

26th-Oct Brighton, Green Door Store
27th-Oct Bristol, Exchange
28th-Oct Birmingham, Hare & Hound
29th-Oct Sheffield, Leadmill
30th-Oct Nottingham, Bodega
31st-Oct Manchester, Sound Control (basement)

2nd-Nov, Glasgow, King Tuts
3rd -Nov, Newcastle, Academy 2
4th -Nov, Leeds, Key Club
5th - Nov, London, The Dome