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Radiodust - 'A.O.R.' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     September 16, 2019    
 
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A pleasing and entertaining listen.

Hands up if you know what A.O.R. stands for? In school, my mates and I argued endlessly about whether it stood for "Adult" or "Airplay" Oriented Rock. In the Gospel according to Radiodust, it stands for "Album-Oriented Radio". Interesting, as indeed is this debut release from Radiodust.

The line-up of the band comprises "three musical veterans" (their words not mine) from Boise, Idaho, namely JD Stefan (guitars, lead and backing vocals), Dennis Feeney (bass, lead and backing vocals) and Todd Sprague (drums and backing vocals), while the sound of their 'A.O.R.' debut is solid, guitar-driven American Rock. It's melodic and accessible throughout, although it frequently references a harder-edged Heavy Rock aesthetic. It's occasionally dark and fuelled by life experience, yet also sometimes surprisingly brat-ish in tone (probably the Weezer influence), but it mostly wins the listener's affection because it is very obviously crafted by guys who love their Rock 'n' Roll.

Quality-wise 'A.O.R.' is something of a mixed bag. When it's good, it's very good, but when it's less good, it's either because it's a bit too bland or a touch too derivative. Of the strongest tracks, 'Nothing To Prove' is energetic Pop Rock fun. Within this song, as elsewhere, there are hints of The Ramones all grown up. 'Time Away' is possibly the album's best track as it exhibits an immensely powerful riff (think Wolfmother or Ocean Colour Scene at their most rocking) and a rollicking good chorus. 'Believe' also scores highly with me because it features more killer guitar and tortured vocals culled from the Grunge side of the tracks.

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By way of contrast, 'Gotta Get Away' sounds like a slightly below par Neil Young and 'Down Circle', despite leaping out of the blocks with real intent, is just a bit too Bryan Adams to reach the finish line with the listener still cheering it on. They'd have been alright if 'Run To You' hadn't been such an international smash! The rest of the songs ply their trade between the two extremes and all have something to offer.

Overall, 'A.O.R.' is a pleasing and entertaining listen. It has a cool vibe and some genuine standout moments. Ironically, it's very "airplay" friendly and most tracks on this release would feel right at home on Modern Rock radio. All in all, repeated plays have left me feeling well disposed towards Radiodust – hell, they've even got me listening to the aforementioned Weezer!

Michael Anthony

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