At their frenetic show last month at the Tractor Tavern, Seattle’s Radio Raheem proved they’re willing to blend genres—rap, 80s pop, soul, you name it—even if that means things seem a little disjointed from time to time.
But you can’t fault the effort, especially when it all comes together, like on the band’s new song “Farewell to My Lover,” released this week. Like the best Radio Raheem songs, it takes advantage of Josephine Howell’s impressive pipes. Good thing, too, because there’s a lot happening in this new piece of syrupy ’80s synthpop.
A bouncy rhythm combines with a satisfying guitar hook to get the song started before it hits a clever, halting transition to a soulful chorus section that allows Howell to rear back and roar. It’s a well-constructed song with plenty of little surprises that confirm Radio Raheem as pop craftsmen.
I’ll admit that I left their opening gig for St. Paul and the Broken Bones a little conflicted about Radio Raheem. Their energy and hooks were infectious, but I had a hard time seeing how it all fit together—even as I found that I was enjoying their set quite a bit. On “Farewell to My Lover,” the puzzle pieces fit perfectly.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails