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Album Review: Something Wild - Radiator Hospital

Album Review: Something Wild - Radiator Hospital

On his latest release, Something Wild (Salinas), Michigan transplant Sam Cook-Parrot, a.k.a. Radiator Hospital, issues a series of penetratingly personal confessional style songs. “Great Escape,” the LP’s second track, immediately bursts with its pop-rockin’ energy as ragged guitar and infectious percussion lay the foundation to a playful/personal narrative - “I’ve heard so many stories, all of them ended with you and me” - eventually transitioning into “so happy birthday baby you’re so much older than I thought you would be” and fades with the harmonizing of “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”

“Our Song” is another rambunctious song in which Cook-Parrot navigates the listener through a series of snapshots of a failing relationship. Sam’s vocals ache with anger as he reveals episodes of deceit and despair, and the chorus lays it all on the line: “You won’t get off that easy, don’t say that you love me. When you know that you don’t. If you’re thinking that we’re through, I won’t hold it against you. You know that I won’t.”

“Are You Feeling Me?” finds labelmate Allison Crutchfield (Swearin’) taking the lead vocal in a punk-edged yet polished flash, finding a dichotomy between the instrumental aggression and her calm, clear tone. “Your Boyfriend” begins as a simple albeit gut-wrenching love confession. However, as Cook-Parrot’s vocals and guitar playing gather momentum, the switch is flipped, and the song takes an electrifying turn. Sam, who had seemingly been isolated and alone, is joined by a full accompaniment, and what initially had an air of vulnerability transforms into strength, punctuated by a raucous searing electric guitar solo by Swearin’s Kyle Gilbride. “Your Boyfriend” serves as a fine example of how Cook-Parrot succeeds in showcasing lyrics through musical minimalism, but is equally capable in heavier band-oriented scenarios.

Radiator Hospital demonstrates through Something Wild a fearless tendency to expose heartfelt/lived experiences that carry a heavy load whether they’re served with an acoustic guitar ("Cryin' Kind" and "Sometimes") or on a more complex full band plate. - Michael Colavita

Published: August 22, 2013 |

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