Guitar-heavy and politically charged, Boston-based trio/activist group State Radio returns with their third album, Let It Go. The album cover and jacket are filled with images of police, protestors, scrawled writings and newspaper clippings. Themes of injustice and power imbalance run heavy throughout, but the anger is balanced by an enduring sense of hope.
The songs are mainly grungy guitar-chugfests, which occasionally delve into other styles. "Calling All Crows" and "Evolution" are a pair of reggae-infused calls to arms while "Doctor Ron the Actor" recalls the sharp guitar bursts of the Pixies' "Oh My Golly." "Bohemian Grove" manages to work in political nursery rhyme Old Mother Hubbard, the assassination of Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the imprisonment of Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi. "Knights of Bostonia" is an unashamed sing-along stadium anthem, boasting and preaching "Sit straight and listen up . . . You only you can set you free."
From patriots to sages, magistrates to madrigals, rebels to revolutionaries, State Radio's socio-political lyrics are dense and closer to prose writing, yet musically the album still manages to work. Let It Go demands your attention and holds it. So sit straight and listen up.