You know that thing behind the grill of your car that keeps it from overheating? Yeah, your radiator. Radiator Hospital is a place where old, leaking radiators with their tubes falling out go to die.
Radiator Hospital have produced some of the finest indie pop / punk / power pop tracks. Some of the best we’ve heard in a while and trust us when we say we listen to this genre a lot.
No seriously, it’s an auto body shop in Grand Rapids, but also the name of Sam Cook-Parrott’s bedroom project turned band. Churning out enthusiastic punk power-pop boppers and earnest indie-pop home-recorded ballads, Radiator Hospital makes some of the finest indie pop slash punk slash power pop we’ve heard in ages.
The Philadelphia-via-Michigan Cook-Parrott (sounds like the name of a cruise ship or something, I know) is backed by Philly’s finest which include members of Very Okay, Swearin’ and Vietnam Werewolf. With frontman Sam Cook-Parrott, Jon Rybicki on bass, Jeff Bolt on drums and Cynthia Schemmer on guitar and vocals, Radiator Hospital are one talented power-pop outfit that you have to listen to. Impressing many with the release of their My Most Imaginary Friend EP back in January 2010, limited runs of EPs on tiny DIY labels and more recently, their debut LP Something Wild last July, the Philadelphia quartet are only getting bigger and bigger.
Gearing up for the September release of their second LP Torch Song, Radiator Hospital has gifted us an early album stream through Bandcamp where you can get the album for whatever price you choose to pay. Personally, I’d be willing to pay a high price for such a beautifully endearing and developed sound, reflected in many of Cook-Parrott’s intelligently crafted songs.
Proof of this is latest track Cut Your Bangs, an ironically melancholy sonnet that emanates yearning, love, miscommunication and heartbreak. Upbeat lo-fi guitars and honest, unadorned lyrics – You say you’ll cut your bangs, I’m calling your bluff / When you lie to me it’s in the small stuff – create a stunningly beautiful musical work that will drown you in emotional cocktails of nostalgia, sincerity and reminiscence.
Profound yet understated, Fireworks (Reprise) starts out with a scratchy and fuzzy guitar strum, while Cook-Parrott’s vocals and songwriting deliver a precocious depth behind the perfectly formed wit and heartache. Simply put, there aren’t too many bands around who could pull off brilliance to this extent.
Evidence of the only 23-year-old Cook-Parrott’s sagacity, Torch Song is a stark representation of the emotional complexities of human relationships, their inception, evolution, disintegration and reformation. Featuring guest appearances from Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, Swearin’s Allison Crutchfield and All Dogs’ Maryn Jones, the resulting sound of Radiator Hospital’s second LP is simple and stripped down, a step in a different direction from the pop-punk vibes of its predecessors.
Embodying sentimental indie power pop with a touch of punk, Radiator Hospital’s Torch Song is out September 1 via Salinas Records and is also available for a name your own price download on Bandcamp.
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