New York musician Patric Westoo brings a stellar take on the powerpop style whenever he writes a song. His lyrics have a unique substance to them that maintain a slight catchiness while riding a groove. He also isn’t afraid to try different things in each song, there’s no redundancy involved and there’s an entertaining listening experience. His band Latvian Radio put out their sixth album Pick Your Poison, Pick Your Blues on Nov 28 via the Swedish label Belpid Records with a clean, more straightforward approach. It fuses old school alternative rock and vintage punk with new wave and mod.
One thing that makes the band’s new record different from their previous material is the larger presence of horns in various songs. It complements the pop-tinged grit very well in sneaky ways. A few other tracks have a ballad vibe to them but not to the point that they become unbearable. Pick Your Poison, Pick Your Blues is an album with a lot of heart. Westoo sings from the soul without any filler from beginning to end.
Powerpop at one point could have been considered a genre of music for the middle-aged. It had its birth thanks to Alex Chilton and Big Star during the ‘70s, and the influence it had on alternative rock during the ‘80s and ‘90s is very noticeable. Around the turn of the century, it became something of remembered lore without any new acts popping up. Recently that started to change slightly but only time will tell if it can be maintained. Will Latvian Radio’s new album play a part in that? Perhaps, but let’s delve into my top tracks off of the Album of the Week in the meantime:
“Paranoia” starts the album off with a driving guitar riff from Westoo; there are also nice harmonies that glisten off the song. The ears can really hear the horns while checking out “Blood Orange Blue” and its unplugged tone. Veering towards punk is “Shake The Tree” with a fast-paced ripping structure and a forceful aesthetic.
Latvian Radio doesn’t have any shows announced as of this writing but they’ll probably be playing around the Big Apple sometime soon. Before the next time they take the stage, grab a copy of the new album. It’s music with feeling that’ll sooth the senses and ease the mind.
“Paranoia” streamable: soundcloud.com/latvian-radio/latvian-radio-paranoia