Review & Track Premiere: Deaf Radio, Modern Panic

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deaf radio modern panic

[Click play above to stream ‘Dance Like a Reptile’ from Deaf Radio’s Modern Panic. Album is out Nov. 15 on Ihaveadrum.]

Denizens of the fervent, driven and admirable Athenian heavy underground, Deaf Radio made their debut with 2017’s Alarm (review here), released through their own imprint, Ihaveadrum. Like that record, the follow-up, Modern Panic, is self-released and sees the four-piece exploring a post-Josh Homme aesthetic, this time seeming to be in direct conversation with Queens of the Stone Age‘s 2013 album, …Like Clockwork. The clarity of production, the spaciousness of quieter moments like the title-track and the earlier “Animals” and even the striking colors and design of the cover art feed into this impression, as well as the vocal style of guitarist Panos Gklinos, joined in the band by guitarist/vocalist Dimitris Sakellariou, as well as bassist Dimitris Georgopoulos and drummer George Diathesopoulos, both of whom handle backing vocals, the compression of the guitar tone in up-front rockers like “Death Club” and “Dance Like a Reptile,” and the fact that it’s in the reaches of side B that Modern Panic makes its greatest and in this case most individualized statement. They do what they do exceedingly well, and I likely wouldn’t hold the Homme influence against them even if they didn’t — they’re hardly the only outfit with one, in any case — and the softer strum and underlying sense of build in the minute-long “Intro” before the rush of “Death Club” kicks in prefaces some of the more atmospheric elements at play both in Modern Panic‘s most thrusting moments and in its broader stretches.

As with Alarm, it is the job of Deaf Radio‘s songwriting to distinguish itself on the whole, and once again it does so with a marked fluidity throughout. “Animals” follows “Death Club” and pits airy, falsetto-leaning vocals against an atmospheric-sounding build as the band establish early on that their second LP will be about more than just careening riffs and the accompanying rhythmic rush. Nothing against that either, mind you. “Dance Like a Reptile” revives the momentum with one of Modern Panic‘s best hooks in its chorus and lead line, and the nine-track/43-minute offering makes a centerpiece of the prior-issued single, “Astypalea” (posted here), and reasonably so. Standing on its own, the song gave an initial ambience in its shimmering guitar and bass, but built up to a straight-ahead verse and chorus that was a sign of the growth Deaf Radio had undertaken in the couple years since their debut. Positioned as it is on Modern Panic, “Astypalea” plays an all the more critical role in providing the transition between the two halves of the record, the first of which is more forward and the second, which moves into broader-reaching and semi-psychedelic fare, almost post-rock at times, but always with a strong current of purpose and structure beneath. In addition to some highlight vocal interplay — an as-yet-underutilized asset on the part of the band; you’ve got four singers listed in your lineup, so make with the arrangements already — “Astypalea” shows the path forward for Deaf Radio in terms of establishing their own personality within the sonic sphere in which they’ve chosen to operate. What they do — if anything — with that potential avenue will of course be up to them, but it’s there should they want to see it.

deaf radio

Perhaps most crucially, “Astypalea” does this by bringing together the two sides of Modern Panic‘s persona as noted. The division between what comes before “Astypalea” and what comes after isn’t so thick a line, necessarily — there are rocking and atmospheric moments on both sides — but the centerpiece does the work often given to a closer in summarizing the outing as a whole. Where it is, however, that means it’s also an introduction from which a song like the title-track can launch outward, which it most definitely does. It’s here that Deaf Radio are maybe their most like …Like Clockwork, from the brooding croon at the outset to the payoff at the end, calling to mind the blend of linearity, methodical riffing and ambience in songs like Queens of the Stone Age pieces like “I Appear Missing” and “Kalopsia” from the mentioned album. Again, Deaf Radio wear it well, and on their sleeve. “Colours” comes to ground around some tighter fuzz and a more stead-ahead rhythm, with a dark boogie and that moves into an effective melodic wash in the chorus tying it to where it lies on the record — that is, making it fit between “Modern Panic” and the subsequent “Fossils” — a sudden ending after about four minutes in bringing a quiet reprise of the central guitar figure en route to the start of “Fossils,” which is the longest inclusion at 6:44.

Like “Astypalea,” “Fossils” draws a bit from all sides, but its divisions are less stark and so it’s all the more cohesive, and its slot as the penultimate cut on Modern Panic is of course no coincidence. Its immersive final push is the crescendo of the album as a whole, and it works well toward that end, less concerned with summary than with its own sweeping energy, and rightly so, as the one takes care of the other. That leaves closer “Gas Station People” as something of an epilogue, but an earned one, with a final showcase of Deaf Radio‘s emerging patience of craft and their ability to reshape their approach to suit the needs of a song’s mood. In this case, that means crashing out hard and slow into a long fadeout that leaves a weighty silence when the song, and thus album, is over. So be it. As much as Deaf Radio pull off the blend of edge and accessibility that so typifies the chief influence under which they’re working, the most satisfying impacts of Modern Panic come from the moments when the band let their more individualized side come through. “Gas Station People” is one, and whatever familiarity might coincide, even the most reminiscent parts of Modern Panic see some of the band’s spirit manifest. They are, then, headed in the right direction and working quickly to establish their place among the crowded sphere of Greek heavy rock. They’ve got the songs to get there — almost sneakily memorable, they are; you know them before you know you know them — and ultimately, that is what will continue to serve them best.

Deaf Radio on Thee Facebooks

Deaf Radio on Instagram

Deaf Radio on Bandcamp

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Deaf Radio Announce Nov. 15 Release for Modern Panic

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deaf radio

Greece’s Deaf Radio teased the promise of their next album with the release of the single ‘Astypalea’ (posted here) back in June. It’s been some three months since that track went out, so getting news of said album is welcome. It’s called Modern Panic and the release is set for Nov. 15 through Ihaveadrum Records. The art, which you can see below, is on-theme with what accompanied the single as well, and the band offers some illumination about what the general thematic is this time around, specifically citing, “lonerism, homophobia, racism, drug use and social media addiction.”

That’s not a little ground to cover, but if you’ll recall, one of the things that their debut, 2017’s Alarm (review here), had working in its favor was efficiency, so I have little doubt the Athens four-piece will get where they’re going this time out.

The PR wire has it like this, preorder link and all:

deaf radio modern panic

Rising Psychedelic Rockers DEAF RADIO Return with New Album, Modern Panic

Released on 15th November on ihaveadrum

Pre-order Modern Panic here:

Following the release of their ‘Astypalea’ single in June, Athens’s leading psych rock quartet Deaf Radio are thrilled to announce the official release of their sophomore album on 15th November via ihaveadrum.

As chief proponents of hard rock and grievous genre assault, ever since the release of their debut album in 2017, the band has been hailed by many as one of the most exciting alt-rock bands to emerge from Greece in recent memory. With Alarm garnering thousands of streams online and gaining ecstatic praise from sell-out crowds when performed live across Europe, expectation are high for the release of Modern Panic; a sprawling, exhilarating and breathtaking record that promises to leave no ear unturned:

“Modern Panic isn’t just Alarm’s successor,” explains guitarist, Panos Gklinos. “It’s a record through which we redefine the band’s identity. Composing it felt like looking at a mirror, suddenly noticing something is changed and then embracing it. Musically there are moments where raw and powerful elements come to surface and others in which we our reveal darker shades. Written between London, New York, Athens and Crete, the changes in the mood of the record are ferocious, while lyrically it reflects on modern society’s issues such as lonerism, homophobia, racism, drug use and social media addiction.”

Having shared bills with the likes of The Killers, All Them Witches, 1000mods and The Kills while touring in 2017 and 2018, Deaf Radio honed the sound and feel of these new songs on the road, live and in-person with thousands of fans in over thirty different cities across Europe. An endeavour which opened the band up to the most perfect proving grounds for testing new material, when seeking to make that perfect next record.

“There’s no doubt that Alarm’s success set the bar high, but in reality, once you put a record out there it’s all out of your control. People can resonate to it and give it a whole new meaning. It’s a chess game, we made our move, now we can’t wait to see how people react and how they will experience Modern Panic.”

Deaf Radio are:
Panos Gklinos (Vocals & Guitar)
Dimitris Sakellariou (Guitar & Vocals)
Dimitris Georgopoulos (Bass & Backing Vocals)
George Diathesopoulos (Drums & Backings Vocals)

Deaf Radio, “Astypalea”

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