Mancunian band The Speed of Sound, famous for their retro 60s mod sound, released two singles on “lucky” Friday the 13th. I have to say “lucky” because these two songs really perked up my Friday! Staying true to their roots, this socially conscious band tackles culture, corporatism, and mainstream media with their two new singles “Radio Safe” and “No Kicks”.
“Radio Safe” kicks off with a catchy guitar riff, rhythmic clapping, and a snappy 60s drum beat. John Armstrong immediately points to Universal, Sony, and Warner’s affinity toward bland, tepid, music that is churned out for the sake of money. Radio stations play “radio safe, radio friendly” as commodities as the song begs, “We are not artists!” The catchy chorus features great harmonies between Ann-Marie Crowley and Armstrong, as they sing, “This is not radio safe, this is not radio friendly, this is not radio repeat, this is not radio boredom (radio boredom) radio boredom.”
What I always love about The Speed of Sound is their biting messages are almost hidden in the catchy tunes, as this toe-tapping melody will keep your ears buzzing.
“No Kicks” begins with Crowley’s Debbie-Harry-ish voice describing how she’s stuck in the house, waiting for that someone to call, saying “If you are not here, I can’t get no kicks.” Listening to the lyrics makes me think of all the mundane boredom we’ve been suffering through this pandemic. As one listens, the meaning gets deeper, as it appears the person is waiting, being taken for granted, and strung along emotionally. The upbeat song is catchy and the chorus is lush, with its nod to 80’s New Wave (think B52s).
The Speed of Sound: John Armstrong – Songwriting/Guitars/Vocals, Ann-Marie Crowley – Vocals/Guitars
Kevin Roache – Bass guitar, John Broadhurst – Drums
Recorded mixed and mastered at Vibratone Sound Studio Manchester
Thanks to Natalie Paddick for use of ‘Red Rope’ in the sleeve artwork.