Magical Dirt - Radio Moscow (Alive Natural Sound)
Radio Moscow’s “thing” is pretty easy to get your head around: Meandering but economical psychedelic guitar jams wrapped around bluesy vocals. Loud and comparatively clean with a dash of funk in the bottom end.
On Album Number Four this Iowa power trio don’t diverge from the formula. There’s some gated vocals, a little steel guitar undercoat visible through the riff-heavy exterior (“Sweet Lil Thing” and “Stinging”), but it’s mostly ball-out, see-you-at-the-finish-line rave-ups.
The term “jams” doesn’t do the songs justice because they are well-realised with no filler. Guitarist-vocalist Parker Griggs is well versed in his classic rock. Something like “These Days” with its rolling bass rumble and cascading riff simply out-Creams Cream before spearing off into space rock territory.
In case you’re wondering, Griggs writes all the original material and on two songs he plays every instrument. I’m reliably informed that the sole cover, “Gypsy Fast Woman”, is by Icelandic band Brain Police, so it’s fair to say he’s a guy who will go looking to find his kicks. Radio Moscow is self-evidently The Parker Griggs Show - how could it not be? - but his engine room revels in playing off him. Anthony Meiss’ bass-lines go chasing the guitar, in parts, without deserting the groove.
The term ‘economical’ sprang forth earlier because no song goes far past five minutes. There’s plenty of solo-ing and time changes in most tunes to keep the trip interesting. Griggs makes no big lyrical statements but you don’t expect him to. His guitar does plenty of talking.
The psychedlic stuff cuts in late in the piece on "Before It Burns", a squealing ball of mind-melting guitar with clouds of studio sound effects poured over the top. Griggs unfurls some of his best guitar-work and the whole conglomeration sticks to the ear drums like bad wax. The adept Delta blues of "Stinging" that follow are restrained by comparison.
You’re a fan of Stoner Rock? You’ll take to this. But if you’ve ever picked up Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” or dug into Hendrix’s funkier material then you’ll be even more at home. Mountain’s first two albums also spring to mind.