Published Oct 19, 2016Stockholm, Sweden's the Radio Dept. are one of the few bands out there that can pull off making political music without forcing the message upon the listener. They've been doing it for years — from 2008's "Freddie and the Trojan Horse" to 2014's "Death to Fascism" — but their fourth album, Running Out of Love, is their most direct manifesto yet.
Released six-and-a-half years after 2010's Clinging to a Scheme, Running Out of Love might feel like a long time coming for fans of the band, but it's all because of a lengthy court case trying to free themselves from an "unfair" publishing deal with label Labrador. The event only added more fuel to the band's fire, though; as members Johan Duncanson and Martin Carlberg have admitted, it was label frustration that inspired them to hit the brakes on an album they were making and start over.
As they're wont to do, the Radio Dept. have rejigged their sound, this time incorporating the club music they were consuming at the time of its creation. "We Got Game" is loaded with a pointed message about Sweden's law enforcement, as well as a rhythm that sounds lifted from New Order's Low-Life, while "Swedish Guns" poses lyrics about gun violence over Balearic house. "Occupied," on the other hand, sounds like minimal techno remix of a Radio Dept. song, yet doesn't abandon their pop aesthetic, pushing a deep melody that evokes the Twin Peaks theme.
Even though it's rammed full like a powder keg of discontentment, the opinions expressed on Running Out of Love don't stop it from being the elusive indie pop band's most unified record to date. (Labrador)