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The Radio Hour

Tim Hort

Review by Gary Hill

This is really confusing. The name of the project is "The Radio Hour," but the musician behind it is Tim Hort, yet the album title is Tim Hort, as well. As someone who does a lot of self-marketing, I think that was a really bad decision from a marketing standpoint, but I'm not hear to review his marketing plan. I'm going to review the music on this album. Tim Hort's music (as released under the name "The Radio Hour" here) is described, among other things, as shoegaze. That element is definitely present frequently throughout this disc. That's why I've landed this under progressive rock because it's clearly artsy. There are other elements at play here, which is more where my focus on the track by track stuff lies. However you classify this, I like this album a lot. We're still pretty early into the year, but I think this is a contender for my best of 2024 list.

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Track by Track Review
Death by Water
Roots music with a lot of art and magic built into it gets us going here. The vocals eventually come in, and this song is complete. It has a dramatic folk rock meets indie vibe to it. It's so strong. It gets more rocking as it continues, and is such a great way to start the set. The electric guitar soloing and fills are so meaty.
This is  a strong indie-rocker with so much style. It's not breaking any molds, but it's just expertly performed and constructed.
With the Rhythm of a Catfight (Alternate)
While this is more middle of the road, it still has plenty of magic and meat. It's another solid alternative rocker with plenty of roots music at its core.
Burbank, California
There is plenty of dramatic folk rocking sound on this number. It has some great energy and drive to it. It's a meaty song that gets into some cool noisy territory later.
The Killer on the Kennedy
I love the guitar solo on this tune. There is a bit of an edgy, almost psychedelic meets grunge vibe to the tune. This is another real winner.
Radio Hour
A bit more subdued, but no less dramatic, this track has both alternative rock and roots music vibes with a little bit of an artsy edge added to it. It's a great choice for title track, and it is the title track for the act, even though there isn't one for the album. .
Excerpt for a Dead-On Girl
More of a driving rocker, this has some real art music vibes, but also a lot of roots rock built into it.
Piano starts this. Some violin comes over the top, augmenting the arrangement a little. The vocals join, and this is a slow moving and evocative ballad as they do. Some artsy layers emerge as this continues. This song is beautiful and so potent.
Missing from the Township
A solid rocker based on folk type sounds, this makes great use of acoustic guitar. There is even a break mid-track focused on that instrument.
World in a Day
Feeling a little restrained, this has a great alternative rock meets roots music drama. It's often understated, but it's also powerful. This is packed with drama and style.
No Dissociation
More of a driving rocker, the focus here is more aligned with alternative rock, but it still has a healthy helping of roots music on-board.
Look for You
I like this a lot. It's perhaps more mainstream rock, but not at the expense of the roots music concepts. It has some intriguing changes, even feeling just a little jazzy at times. It also works to almost proggy zones in a soaring jam later.
How Annandale Went Out
There is a healthy helping of art music in the mix on this number. It has a nice balance between the mellower and the more rocking. It's also got some soaring moments. I can make out hints of space rock, too. There is still plenty of folk music and alternative rock here, too.
Easier This Way
Trippy, spacey, art music gets things going here. This has ambient textures and a spoken female voice in the mix. It's basically an instrumental interlude. It's also short and very cool.
Both Alone Tonight
Here we get another piano based ballad. This time it's just that instrument and the vocals holding the piece.
Second Son (Alternate)
Starting with some studio banter, this is very much an art music cut. It has plenty of piano in the mix, but also other elements that contribute to a rather trippy arrangement. This is on the more balladic side, but it's also very creative and dramatic.
While many of the familiar elements from the rest of the album are still here, I'd have no probably calling this thing progressive rock. It is energetic, dynamic and so cool. I absolutely love the bass work on it, too. The saxophone solo is on fire, too. This might actually be my favorite track here. The closing jam is smoking hot.
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