|Breaking The Waves - Radio Alcatraz|
You might know Dan Wheeldon, or at least his leg. His calf is a masterpiece of a cow being abducted by a 1950s flying saucer that has been featured in Bizarre magazine. He does also have three other limbs however, pounding the skins for Surrey post-hardcore troupe Radio Alcatraz, along with guitarist Andy, vocalist Simon, and new bassist Tim. A mix of At The Drive-In and Bear Vs Shark’s nervy energy, ‘Populous: Populous: In The Belly Of The Beast’ is the result of two years of writing, practising and recording. “We wrote and practised for over a year prior to even thinking about playing a show,” Dan tells Soundshock. “A lot of bands we know will be gigging within 4 months of forming. Which is fine if you’re not OCD about every little riff and beat like we are.”
Taken hand in hand with RA’s determination to self-finance everything, and the RA personnel’s experience in and around the London scene in numerous other bands, it’s so surprise that ‘Populous...’ is accomplished, from the anthemic opener ‘Oxford Code’ to the soaring ‘Switches And Triggers’ and through to ‘Running Through The Snitch’, there’s a maturity and intelligence running through this record. Of its themes, Dan says “The album has ended up dealing with different dark aspects of living within a population. In some songs this can take a literal, socially political form, where as other songs are more like short stories I guess. The album blends from dark fantasy to political reality in a way we never fully expected”.
Meaning to go on as they started, the foursome are going for the Fugazi business model: no label, no management. Just four lads, doing it for the love of music. “Our previous bands have taught us to forget about doing this as a career and just enjoy doing it. Like an expensive hobby” Dan laments. But worry not, RA are going nowhere: “Balancing jobs with music is challenging sometimes but we all love writing and playing so we battle on.”
Radio Alcatraz are supporting Anti-Flag at the Fighting Cocks, Kingston on May 1st and 2nd.
Check out Radio Alcatraz on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/radioalcatrazmusic
Feature by Steve Jones