Roger Waters' second solo album is yet another conceptual narrative, one that tells the tale of a wheelchair-bound boy who tries to halt the threat of nuclear war through his use of the HAM radio. The story line isn't held together as tightly as his first album, and the whole fable seems a little too far fetched, even when taken lightly. Unlike The Pros and Cons album, the music here overrides the narrative, but not by much, highlighted by the upbeat pop single "Radio Waves." The last tune, entitled "The Tide Is Turning," is the only other focal point of the album, an honest-sounding ballad that relinquishes a glimmer of hope in an otherwise unpromising world. Waters' anti-war theme is stretched full across the album, but the music itself struggles to capture any attention, bogged down by half-whispers and flat-lined melodies that are only slightly resuscitated from time to time with some trumpet and saxophone. The novelty of Los Angeles disc jockey Jim Ladd wears off quickly, as he was obviously used to add some lightheartedness to the album's pessimistic undertones. Waters' use of imagery and thematic depth are absent from Radio K.A.O.S., leaving his superficial spiel with barely any sustenance, which in turn hinders the moral of the album so that it fails to reach its fruition. While both The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and Amused to Death convey his talented use of concept, imagination, and lyrical mastery, this album seems to be nothing more than a fictional tale with a blatantly apparent message.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne