Firstly the name: Radlands. Well, obviously it’s where Malick’s Badlands and Keith Richards’ Sussex estate Redlands are amalgamated – that’s official by the way. The group headed to Austin to record this collection, so the title kind of makes sense: English guitar band wandering the Colorado landscape and all that.
After the first two tracks you start to believe they might actually pull this off, ably dropping some desert-outlaw type influences into their indie make-up. You Had Me At Hello cruises the dusty back bars with wide open eyes, The Eagles circle somewhere nearby. The loss of innocence within the song’s narrative is a parallel to a group willing to camp out in the States and play it their way – respect is due.
But there is a slow downhill momentum from around track four, which results in a pile-up of songs that just sound wrong. Greatest Hits is like a D version of Rafferty’s Stuck In the Middle with You. Even worse is The Hale Bop, some semi-funk, 70s hybrid that just derails the authenticity the group had almost nailed.
From here on in the spell is broken. Take Me Where The Roses Grow is an awkward duet that is no match for the Laural Canyon back catalogue, and Sister Everett is mid-paced bar-rock and bears none of the Austin, vale-amp warmth we had fallen for back at the start.
Maybe heading into the big wide open seemed like a good idea when originally conceived, but by the time we get to Lost in Austin the title seems a little too close to home.