herald

Wednesday 23 July 2014

The Radiators From Space are putting the heat back into beat

ALTHOUGH they were pioneers, as Ireland's first punk band, the Radiators from Space always had an acute understanding of the past.

Their early sets were peppered with covers of influential garage bands such as the Stooges, the Flaming Groovies and the Velvet Underground, while a highpoint of live shows was a take on Them's Gloria which incorporated elements of The End and Set Me Free, from the classic rock movie Privilege.

Their Ramones-like take on the showband classic The Hucklebuck was a guaranteed show-stopper and provides a link to their new release Sound City Beat. In the '60s there was a thriving underground of beat groups, and the Radiators have covered long-forgotten and half-remembered one-offs.

What's truly surprising about Sound City Beat is not just the quality of the material -- which is exceptionally strong -- but that these songs, and the acts who originally recorded them, have been overlooked in the story of Irish rock. Yes, before Skid Row, Thin Lizzy and Horslips there was intelligent rock'n'roll life on this island.

Songs such as Head For the Sun, I'm Gonna Turn My Life Around, You Got What I Need and Yes I Need Someone sound fresh and vital and convey the Radiators' love for what they're doing. There's even a nod to Thin Lizzy with a version of Dublin (complete with a spoken word introduction from Eamon Carr) which draws past and present together beautifully.

Add in the magnificent liner-notes from Philip Chevron and the Radiators from Space have done themselves and Ireland's rock'n'roll heritage proud.

George Byrne

Sound City Beat is available now

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