It always seems so appropriate when you hear the sound of moribund reflection coming out of Ireland. After all we were never invaded by the Romans, and remain more akin to the icy, Teutonic cultural strains of somewhere like Iceland or Scandinavia than the Iberian peninsula.
Warsaw Radio are no Sigur Ros, far from it, rather they are more akin to the pub-crawling sound of a Tom Waits or Nick Cave. There’s something a little bit insidious in their music, and more especially in Brian McNamara’s vocals on ‘Give it All to Fear.’
Ten years ago there was a certain sound that was seeping out of every crack and up through every floorboard. Symptomatic of the symphonic sonic of such bands as The National, The Walkmen and Sufjan Stevens was the ability to create a subdued sense of the romantic, something ethereal and in its essence very pretty.
Warsaw Radio seem to be of that school of musicians who came up taking inspiration from this movement. Using an assortment of instruments, they communicate more than the usual range of emotions, via the use of brass in trumpets and strings in the violin.
Down By The Sea is a prime example, as plucked strings and backing vocals recalling the sound of choral movements provide the intro. The trumpets come later, lifting everything very elegantly so that the end point is a lovely celebration.
The title track Give It All To Fear is a swashbuckling call for openness. McNamara’s vocals are lackadaisically brilliant at capturing the sense of the song, in that they are steadily resonant, easily exuding the attitude summed up by the song’s title.
Previously Warsaw Radio released an EP called ‘Lost in her Sound’ which had them sounding like Matt Berninger’s lot. In the ensuing years that posturing has fallen away and been replaced by a sound which is genuinely all their own.
On the surface, ‘Give It All To Fear’ is a very mansome record, hinting at the aforementioned Tom Waits, but between the lines is the best kind of loveliness. The kind that takes a few listens to capture, but which then lasts for weeks and months; a sound to make memories to.