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My Dear Radium
Artist: The Black Spoons
Label: Particle Music
Length: 10 tracks/ 37:11 min.
If there was ever a band to creatively incorporate philosophical influences into mainstream music, the Black Spoons would certainly be that band. The trio, which includes Tom Sean (vocals, guitar), Ruben Dario Mercado (Drums), and David Horton (bass), was formed in 2003 and in a short amount of time they have produced a debut album worthy of praise and recognition. My Dear Radium may be reminiscent of Interpol and other '80ís influenced alternative bands, but the complexity and eloquence of the lyrics and catchy hooks are qualities that make this band unique. 

As the title suggests, the album is an exploration of the individualís existence and relationships. Tom Seanís lyrics are both intense and poetic. One could almost imagine him reading his words to a crowd in a coffee shop in Greenwich Village. In "Your Softest Leather," for example, Sean wastes no time in stating his point: ďWe donít deserve to be so pretty but we are / Itís like they dropped us from the sky one world too far.Ē The music is equally strong. Mercadoís rhythmic drumming and Hortonís bass lines appropriately match the energy of Seanís lyricism. Throughout the song, the music changes between soft beats and faster riffs, demonstrating the musicianship and dynamic qualities of the band members.

While all of the tracks are strong, "Chemical Sue" has a memorable hook, which makes the song stand out in the album.  The music has high energy, and the lyrics, as usual, are both witty and poetic.  Sean cleverly uses scientific jargon instead of the typical romantic clichés. Even if you slept through Chemistry class, the lyrics are still entertaining.       

In the following tracks, Sean proves to be as skilled with the guitar as he is with his words. The slightly distorted guitar riffs are neither extremely complex nor simple. In "The Pleasuer of Sin Without Sin," Sean utilizes guitar licks and chord progressions to complement the humorous lyrics about a world gone mad. Seanís poetry paints a picture of obscene proportions: ďI buried the car, dear, in the woods / Covered the headlights as best I could.Ē While the music itself is entertaining, the lyrics poke fun at suburbia. Sean sings about the typical nosy neighbor and the less than perfect relationship. Even towards the end of album, The Black Spoons manage to keep it strong with startling lyrics and complementing music.

Most bands take years to develop their style, yet The Black Spoons have catapulted themselves into a solid band in just a few. My Dear Radium is a strong album from start to finish.  The trio manages to avoid the danger of creating multiple songs that sound too much alike, a problem that most bands suffer. For those who enjoy intelligent lyrics and playful melodies, this album definitely belongs in your music collection.     

Brandy Goldberg    August 28, 2005


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