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Track Review: The Radio Dept. — “The Absence of Birds”

Artist: The Radio Dept.

Genre: #IndiePop

Sub-Genres: #DreamPop

Label: Just So!

Description: Swedish indie pop band The Radio Dept. have always been masters of a certain brand of blissful dream pop. “The Absence of Birds”, the band’s first new music since 2018, is no exception. A return to the lush indie pop of their excellent earlier records, such as 2010’s Clinging to a Scheme (a must listen for fans of dream pop), this track swaps the the synthesizers and political polemic of 2016’s Running Out of Love for gently arpeggiated guitars and lyrics outlining various romantically charged scenarios with painterly detail. 

All this combines for an absolutely sublime effect, even by Radio Dept. standards. There’s a moment that sticks out to me in particular—just as the line “Just playing through these tapes ‘til it gets light outside” beams through the reverb, a second guitar comes in, cushioning the song with sparkling chords. It’s borderline magical—and just goes to show the quality of The Radio Dept’s songcraft. All in all, an excellent single, and it bodes well for a possible album announcement.

Sounds Like: The Clientele, Real Estate, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Reviewer’s Name: Jonathan Gibson

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