I first became aware of the Australian melodic rock band The Radio Sun at Melodic Rock Fest 3 in 2013. Seeing them play early one of the days (now that I think about it, they might have played acoustic one day and electric another day) and saying to the promoter Andrew McNeice (and owner of the band’s label Melodic Rock Records) that I really liked them. He mentioned that they had their debut coming out in a few months. So by the next MRF in late 2014, I saw them live again as well as backing up Paul Laine’s set and they were even better the 2nd time. After living with the debut album, Wrong Things Right, for a few months I knew this would be a band to watch. As I was getting to know the debut release (and realizing that Paul Laine had a hand in producing and co-writing a song or two as he has done on all albums since) it was announced that they had already recorded the follow-up Heaven or a Heartbreak. By the time it was released in the fall of 2015, it quickly became one of my favorite releases of last year as they easily avoided the sophomore slump that so many bands struggle with.
Now almost a year later the 3rd The Radio Sun album, Outside Looking In, arrives and how this band seems to find a way to get better with each album I will never know. There are many bands out there that struggle to come up with quality songs that get a lot more hype, that are on bigger labels but not many of those bands and albums live up to what The Radio Sun are putting out the last few years. The harmonies, melodies and overall feel of their music can’t help but put you in a good mood and no matter what time of year it is playing their music automatically makes me think of summer and driving in my car with the windows down with the stereo on 10.
I think the band’s biggest talent is that they are hard to categorize. Sure it’s melodic rock but they don’t sound like anyone else. They are obviously influenced by the melodic rock greats of the 80’s but somehow they take those influences but don’t sound like a clone of any of them and with vocalist Jason Old they have one of the best voices in the genre. With guitarist Steve Janevski they have a guitarist that is not only a great songwriter but also plays tasteful and very memorable solos. That’s not to take anything away from the rhythm section of drummer Ben Wignall and bassist Robbie Erdmanis who do a great job of holding it all together and Ben particularly really stepping up his game on this album. I could go on a name favorite songs but instead will just give a breakdown of them all.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” – Great opening rocker that sets the pace with a nice sing-a-long chorus.
“Standing on the Edge of Love” – A nice rocker that is classic The Radio Sun. Starts slow and builds into a huge chorus that you can’t get out of your head. Huge harmonies and guitar solos finish the track off.
“You’ll Never Know” – Starts out like it’s gonna be a big ballad and then bam it kicks in and punches you in the face. Great riff and memorable chorus with vocal harmonies to die for. The first track co-written by Paul Laine.
“Switch Off the World Tonight” – This is the type of song I think of when I think of The Radio Sun. A perfect melody, great vocal harmonies, a bouncy riff and a chorus that is stuck in your head for days. One of the better melodic rock songs you’ll hear this year.
“Broken” – The first ballad on the album and they hit it out of the park with maybe the best ballad type song I’ve heard all year. “Your Smile its Ordinary” is the chorus and there is nothing ordinary about this song. And the solo just fits the song perfectly.
“Fall to Pieces” – Starting out with a big drum beat, then putting on the brakes for the verse and reversing into a fast pace for the chorus. And what a chorus it is. Again one of the better songs on the album and another fantastic solo.
“Wink & Smile” – Co-lead vocals by Paul Laine take this to another level. When you already have one of the best melodic rock singers in Jason Old and then you add in a legend like Paul just forget about it this is melodic rock gold.
“Outside Looking In” – A more mid-tempo tune that is perfect between the previous track and the next faster paced track. Great chorus that builds out of the slower verses and one you can’t get out of your head.
“My Heart is on Fire” – Upbeat track with a HUGE chorus and backing vocals and co-written by Paul Laine. This has to be in the setlist!
“Baby Blue” – A laid back song that just grabbed me from first listen. It’s almost a ballad but has a little kick to it. That melody grabs you and doesn’t let go. The genius here is that the point where the solo would normally be there is no solo because it wasn’t necessary and I commend them for that. While I love my guitar solos it’s refreshing to see a band not throw one in and over play when it doesn’t serve the song.
“Falling for You” – Another huge melodic rocker that is all about the chorus and has some excellent melodies and harmonies. Another one co-written by Paul Laine and featuring guitars by Brett Garsed (Nelson).
“Bulletproof” – “Yeah you shot me in the heart again-I’m not Bulletproof!!!!” Wow, what a song, what a chorus! One of the best songs of 2016 right here and I can’t imagine this not begin played live.
“Someone Tell Me Why My Heroes are Dying” – This should be a regular track and what a great song it is. Name checking Lemmy, Jani Lane, Prince, Dio and so many more great musical heroes that we’ve lost.
“Beautiful” (MRR Bonus Track) – An upbeat song that is a good way to finish the album and is beautiful in every way.
There are two additional bonus tracks on the Japanese release “Crazy For you Girl” and “Rock Revolution”.
In closing, this is one of the better melodic rock albums you will hear all year so I highly recommend it for all fans of melodic rock or just great music in general.
Watch for an exclusive Decibel Geek interview with The Radio Sun guitarist Steve Janevski coming soon!