Title: Fire Academy EP (Death to False Hope Records)
Radio Reds’ latest, and final, release isn’t some haphazard swansong thrown together with leftover bits and pieces; no, Fire Academy EP is their magnum opus. From the opening, Billy Bragg-esque jangle guitar of “Sell Out” to the haunting piano driven closer “Plain for You,” Fire Academy works in every way. These songs are passionate and heartfelt and grab you by the balls with their intensity and hooks (and there’s a killer cover of “I Melt With You” to boot). Radio Reds formed in 2011 and since then have released four EPs (including this one), one split EP, one full-length album, and one compilation; not a bad output for a band that lasted four years. The shame of this band calling it a day is that I think they were on the verge of not only hitting their stride musically (which they certainly showcased herein) but finding a wider audience. Bands like Restorations, Luther, and The Menzingers have found success in punk circles (especially The Fest crowd) with styles that mix and match elements from punk, indie, post hardcore, Americana, and emo and I see no reason why fans of those bands wouldn’t love Fire Academy and Radio Reds in general.