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Early Years

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Album Review

One of several excellent traditional ska bands raised in the nurture and admonition of New York's Version City studio (and its benevolent mandarins, Jeff "King Django" Baker and Victor Rice), the Radiation Kings offer a sound that will be familiar to fans of Skinnerbox, the Stubborn All-Stars, and the Slackers: a strictly retro, organ-driven ensemble sound with good horn charts and great basslines. But the Kings have one other thing going for them that the others do not: the voice of Lisa White, whose delivery is a perfect balance between postpunk assertiveness and retro-ska sweetness. On the rocksteady ballad "Spending Time," she croons gently to a recalcitrant lover; she delivers the defiant "Dem Try" with just the right amount of brassiness. The instrumentalists are just as good, jumping from elastic rock steady grooves to loping reggae and galloping ska without dropping a beat. It's especially impressive to note that this debut album consists entirely of original material (most songs written by guitarist Josh Taht; others by organist Brandon Campbell). Very nice.

Early Years, The Radiation Kings
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