Silent Kill

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Jeff Burke and Mark Ryan fronted one of the best garage punk bands of recent memory as members of the Marked Men, and with their new project Radioactivity, they've dialed back the garage side of the equation while hitting the stomp box to bring up the punk, with powerful results. On Radioactivity's second album, 2015's Silent Kill, the band pours out a steady blast of fast, streamlined tunes full of melodic hooks and ringing guitars (courtesy of six-string operators Burke and Daniel Fried) that reveal plenty of interesting details when you get a chance to let them sink in. While the tunes on Silent Kill don't sound like they were written with a thesaurus at hand, there's genuine intelligence on display, both lyrically and melodically, and more emotional maturity than the average band banging out chock-a-block punk rock in the 21st century. Radioactivity are also blessed with an indefatigable rhythm section in Ryan on bass and Gregory Rutherford on drums, and the production by Burke and Ryan (who recorded the sessions at their own studio, Cool Devices) is clean, tight, and forceful without sounding heavy-handed. Silent Kill is just hooky and relentless enough to suggest pop-punk, but Radioactivity aim for a resonance that sets them far apart from their peers in the pop-punk underground, and there's enough weight in songs like "With You," "No Connection," and "Battered" that Silent Kill sounds like the work of the guys who read on their lunch hour, and in this case that's a good thing. Silent Kill is a decisive step forward for Radioactivity, and if they keep up this sort of progress, their third album should be a barnburner; this is already way ahead of the pack for the indie punk class of 2015.

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