Jingle-jangly. Shred-crazy. Melodic. Powerful. These are all words and phrases that have been used to describe the sound waves and melodies amplified off the instruments meticulously played by alternative post-punk band LiquidLight. The Portland-based rockers were named Best Emerging Alt Rock Band by Deli Magazine after releasing their debut album Uninitiated, but instead of riding on their previous success they decided to press forward into new sonic territory; residing in the sweet spot between focused songwriting and vocal performance while still maintaining the instrumental prowess they'd been known for.
This new development of sound is how they created their sophomore album, Wicked Radio, released this past September. The record is comprised of 14 tracks that show off the band’s classic rock sensibilities, often highlighting their influences like The Replacements, Big Star, and Sonic Youth, while also being punctuated by a lyrical gravity that is firmly planted in the now. The LP was mastered at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. Lead singer and songwriter, Anthony Medici said of Wicked Radio in a recent press release, “This new album is a commentary on the divide between pop songs and having strong instrumental personality. Those things used to be wrapped up in one package but they have been growing further apart for decades. Our goal was to bring them together in our own way.”
The record starts with “Cookie Cutter” a rambling strumming backed story of a protagonist dealing in a world where he's forced into a shape he's not quite made for. There’s also “Keep Me Out of It” which shines a light on the band's intricate string play, picking up slowly and steadily before falling into layered strumming then spacing out into unwavering drumming. “Disappearing Ink” is another must listen to track on the record, the arch of the song centers around the parlor trick of vanishing ink, the narrative a commentary against falling for tricky people. The guitar play of the song can also be described as "tricky" backed by classic bridges and clean harmonies.
With Wicked Radio, LiquidLight accomplishes a level of instrumental artistry most bands are still trying to grasp in their third or fourth albums, but with an approachable listening quality that relieves listeners of the burden of making it sound hard.