Dreaming Out Loud – The Radiators
Sci Fidelity 1047
Hurricane Katrina had quite a devastating effect on New Orleans but the music remains intact, invigorated and ready to continue proving its ample mettle. Hailing from the Big Easy, the Radiators' new release, Dreaming Out Loud delivers a steady heaping of concentrated loose rock n’ soul music. The band has logged nearly three decades and the horrific aftermath of last year’s floods has produced Louisiana-tempered tunes mixed well with the cautionary times we dwell, carrying simple messages of tough survivalist commentary. Songs linger along the borders of good vibes and sentimentalbeit tinged by bittersweet remorse. In fact, the best tracks on this travelogue of the post-Katrina soul of the city evoke more of a mood than the usually prevalent party stank that sometimes suffocates so many other N’awlins acts.
A quartet of numbers on the first side of the current slab emphasizes this vibe quite well. The title track is a haunting Bayou portrait, which sounds like Robbie Robertson fronting the E Street Band — a beautiful tune that stays rooted within a centralized dirge motif. “Wrestling with the Angel” and “Rub It In” follow with intricate details about the events that transpired in the danger zones of last year’s catastrophic events. Each song contains a slow patient groove anchored by Ed Volker’s keyboards while the former contains a brilliant Allman Brothers lick near its coda; the latter tune is deep, silky blues with Volker again on engaging vocals cradling a few brief guitar solos dipping in and above the tortured apocalyptic milieu. “Lost Radio” wouldn’t be out of place on Dylan’s Modern Times and features an easy hook riddled by a remote distant nostalgic memory.
Side two contains a more traditional New Orleans template and floats along without too much cantankerous residue before the epochal “The Death of the Blues” kicks the saloon door wide open with its tight bar band feel straddling the stage next to the 19th century bouncy waltz of “Desdemona”clocking in at a mere three minutes, the tune represents the best of New Orleans’s simple pleasures while evoking a deeply enchantingthat word, againmood of resonance, promise, survival and faith in tomorrow. N’awlins lives within the people who remember that you may not be able to fool Mother Nature but you can still get up and sing the body electric when she’s finished yammerin’.