New Radiant Storm King

August Revital

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New Radiant Storm King's third album continues the positive trends seen on 1993's Rival Time, kicking off with the stunningly poppy "Froglegs (I Suppose)," the trio's most hummably catchy tune to that point. The sloppy, Volcano Suns-style noise bursts are pared back to a minimum, with only the herky-jerky "Go Back and Start" recalling the rough edges of their debut, My Little Bastard Soul. Drummer Elizabeth Sharp, for the first and only time, joins singers Peyton Pinkerton and Matt Hunter on vocals, and the three-way interplay strongly recalls that of the group's one-time labelmates Sleepyhead. Besides "Froglegs," the album's clear highlights are the moody, nearly psychedelic closer "Misdirected Energy" and the becalmed "Self-Helpless," which suggests the direction Pinkerton would take in his side project with fellow western Massachusetts homebody Joe Pernice, the Pernice Brothers. August Revital would be the close of New Radiant Storm King's first chapter, as Sharp left to start her own band, Ill Ease, shortly after this album's release.

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