Radio One

Radio One

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Radio One's self-titled debut is a remarkable re-creation of the sound of the second wave of U.K. punk bands, circa 1978. Stiff Little Fingers, Slaughter & the Dogs, Alternative TV, The Adverts, and dozens of others known only to obsessive collectors all come to mind while listening to these 13 two-minute/three-chord wonders. The tempos are speedy, the sound is aggressive but not hardcore-level noisy, and there are just enough pop elements to possibly attract those who think punk rock started with Green Day, and enough political conviction to keep this Bay Area quartet from being dismissed as lightweight poseurs. Ironically, though, the album's best song is the one that sounds the least like an old Sham 69 B-side: "Perfect Crime" has an anthemic, moody quality that suits singer Reuben Rivera's bellowing vocal style surprisingly well and gives the album an unexpected glimpse at a more varied and intriguing future. The best of the class of 1978, Radio One would do well to remember, were those bands who ditched punk orthodoxy early on and followed their own stylistic quirks.

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