Here's my thing: what makes alternative rock 'alternative?' Independence and no label affiliation? Off the charts and out of the mainstream? Perhaps. A collective DIY effort by the band to record their music and get it out to college students and modern hipsters. Maybe.
Conversely, in these days, 'alternative rock' is a cliche, using all of the above, for current commercial appeal. Then, in a moment, you're not so alternative after all.
So what's all this got to do with Radio Fallout and their debut album Vox e Tenebris? Well, they call themselves an 'alternative rock act' and so do some press people. Whatever.
The clues are obvious: post-punk, post-grunge, and basic melodic rock informs this band. There's hints of Green Day, Weezer, The Foo Fighters, and Nirvana to name a few. Sometimes I hear something even earlier, like Elvis Costello, curiously on Wishing Well. They can also be rambunctious and really rock with the raw punk energy that informed early alt rock, as on Hour of Darkness or Reeducation. Honestly, enthusiasm and song craftsmanship are non-issues here. They deliver honest rock with energy and passion. In this context, Radio Fallout have vision and potential. Cripes, they played SXSW after all.
So why, to these ears, does Vox e Tenebris sound all too familiar? Because that's the nature of alternative rock in this day. The alt hipsters don't want to admit it, but they've become the mainstream, the commercial or, as we once said back in the day, part of the establishment. Nevertheless, Radio Fallout has the talent and songs to rise above the alt rock crowd. I hope they do, and I'll bet they sound pretty damn good live.
Radio Fallout's Vox e Tenebris is melodic alternative rock which, considering the proliferation of the genre, could mean more of the same. But the have the talent and songs to rise above the alt rock milieu.
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