There’s a fine line between wearing musical influences on your sleeve and transcending them. New Yorkers Red Radio Flyer step firmly over that line on their debut. A melancholy mood piece that recalls Roy Orbison, Chris Isaak, and the Mavericks, Gettin’ Somewhere is more than an exercise in fat guitar tones and reverb-soaked crooning.
“Bankers Hands” offers up the most vivid imagery of the album, supported by a gently swinging melody that recalls Paul Kelly. A timeless story of unrequited love, the narrator knowingly explains the poor vs. rich dynamic: “I’ll never get a chance/I don’t have bankers hands.”
There are plenty such unassuming moments, revolving around a Bodeans-gone-country vibe. Singer Janardana Ryan’s hoarse Jersey-style croon echoes Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen on the rockers such as “These Are Times”, while resembling Isaak and Raul Malo on the lighter fare. Its musical influences are obvious, but Red Radio Flyer adds that spark of energy and invention separating art from artifice and good music from merely adequate rehashing.