Review: Radio Alcatraz’s It’s All Coming Up Roses

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Radio Alcatraz have returned and they’ve created a post hardcore album with some pretty interesting names attached to it. The band’s sophomore album is called It’s All Coming Up Roses and it’s produced by Refused’s own Pelle Henrisson. Not only that but it also contains guest appearances from Justin Schlosberg from Hell is for Heroes, Jamie Lenman, Justin Sane from Anti Flag and Liam Cormier from Cancer Bats. That’s some pretty hefty names in the heavy music scene.

So why have these guys decided to take an interest in Radio Alcatraz? It might have something to do with the fact that the band make some of the best post hardcore the UK has to offer right now. Since the release of the band’s debut album Populous: In the Belly of the Beast, the band have grown exponentially as song writers. The band’s music is brilliantly dynamic and while the angular openings of the songs and the quiet/loud dynamic will make fans of the genre feel at home, Radio Alcatraz have an unnerving knack for making each of their songs build up to an epic crescendo full of excellent melodies and leads by guitarist Andrew Eales.

The crescendos are where Radio Alcatraz really shine. There’s a real euphoria that comes from listening to tracks like The Physical Effect as you’re taken on a journey that begins in the weird, progressive area that so many post hardcore bands explore to be lulled into a gentler and more melodious middle eight before the band hit home with some soaring vocal melodies and guitar leads. It’s a beautiful experience that Radio Alcatraz have absolutely nailed on this album.

Not only is the music a wonderful love letter to post hardcore but the guest appearances from Justin Schlosberg and Jamie Lenman have the rather lovely effect of reminding you how brilliant UK rock music was in the early 2000s. This country had some stunning post hardcore to its name and Radio Alcatraz bring back joyous memories of bands like Hell is for Heroes, Hundred Reasons, Million Dead and early Funeral for a Friend and you can’t help but be reminded at how fantastic our rock music is.

It’s a shame that an album this well written should come out in an era where UK rock doesn’t bother the charts in the same way it used to because if It’s All Coming Up Roses was released in 2003 it would already be regarded a classic. That’s not to say that this record sounds dated in any way, just that it calls back to a bygone era of great UK rock music and Radio Alcatraz deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the band’s that championed it.

Do you like post hardcore? Do you like early 2000s UK rock music? If the answer to either of those questions is, “yes” then you should be buying a copy of Radio Alcatraz’s It’s All Coming Up Roses right now. What this album lacks in originality is made up for by being one of the best post hardcore albums to come out in recent memory and I hope a legion of rock fans are still talking about it in 10 years’ time.

8/10

Radio Alcatraz’s It’s All Coming Up Roses is released on the 8th of December. You can pre-order it from Banquet Records right now.

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About Lewis Clark

Long time fan of rock and metal, webmaster and lead writer at UK Scumscene. Occasional co-host of Catbird's Sunday Roasting on TotalRock.com, 12pm to 3pm every Sunday View all posts by Lewis Clark

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