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Review

Bronze Radio Return is superb

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September 23, 2010

We’ve all got at least one friend who loves “that old time music.” You know the guy; he’s the one that goes out and spends $750 on old Beatles, Stones and Zeppelin albums in vinyl, hell, you might even be that guy.

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to be that guy, but frankly, I don’t have the cash, and I certainly don’t have the patience to line up the needle on the album just right so the sound comes out (give me a computer, an iPod and a download cable and we’ll call it good).

In any case,  I’ve never heard a band so caught up with the sounds of “the good old days of rock” since listening to Bronze Radio Return.

Seriously, even their name implies a return to the golden years of vinyl, 45s and EPs!

Bronze Radio Return’s debut album , Old Time Speaker, is loaded with references to the way rock used to be in the 60s and 70s. BRR formed out east, all five of the members hailing from New York and Connecticut.

Each of them studied musical performance in colleges across New England and met through various friendships made at these institutes.

They were discovered by producer Doug Derryberry, who has produced albums for bands such as The Ben Folds Five, and Bruce Hornsby.

BRR members cite many inspirations, but all of them seem to point back to one central theme: a love for old records and albums, humming away on the turntable.

The opening track “Lo-Fi” is a glorified love letter to the vinyl of yesteryear, and the “crackle that sizzles my soul.” “Lo-Fi” is a fast paced, driving tune that won’t fail to get stuck in your head for days on end.

This is speaking from experience, of course.  Another track, “Play it on Me”, is another quality track, dedicated to the memory of old school music.

It tells the tale of a man listening to the voice of a woman on the radio, whom he deeply loves, and although his copy of her song is scratched, and old, the memories that the song brings back keep him listening to her.

My favorite song on the album, is “Digital Love.”

By far and away, it has the best lyrics of the entire album, and it has such a cool oom-pa-pa beat to it!

The beginning of the chorus was what really hooked me: “Cause I don’t need another chore to do, I’m an analog man with a digital case of you.”

What a clever set of lyrics this song had! Bronze Radio Return’s lyrics could charm the pants off of the coldest of cold listeners!

The music itself is very catchy as well: think Ben Harper’s relaxed and laid back sound infused with the instrumental talents of the band Mute Math.

I certainly can’t define it as easy listening or rock, so instead I’ll call it “soul rock”.

There are some obvious blues patterns and influences, but you’ll also hear some steel guitars and banjoes, perhaps a nod men like Johnny Cash, and other popular bluesmen from the 1960s. Bronze Radio Return   has some incredibly solid music, as well as some very enjoyable lyrics.

There are many tracks from this album still buzzing in my head and I have a feeling they will be there for days and weeks to come.

BRR has convinced me that the dolled up sound of radio and music today, although great in its own respect, still just isn’t quite the same as that good old fashioned stuff.

I think more than that, they’ve convinced me to start a vinyl collection.

So with that, I present you this letter: Dear Amazon.com, Please send Bronze Radio Return a thank you letter. Their masterful lyrics have made a believer out of me, an avid record buyer from you. Please take a portion of the hundreds of dollars I will soon be shelling out to you, and give them some love. Your Friend, Jon Lyksett.

Jon Lyksett is a student at UW-River Falls.