EP Review: Radical Face - 'Therapy'

Radical Face releases his impressive new 6-track EP ‘Therapy’ showing off a richer, optimistic, indie pop sound, out now via Bear Machine.

Having spent eight years working on his critically acclaimed three-album conceptual saga, ‘The Family Tree: The Roots’ (2011), ‘The Branches’ (2013), and ‘The Leaves’ (2016) Radical Face returns showing off a new stylistic direction on ‘Therapy’. Opening with his most recent release, ‘Doubt’, Radical Face delivers a balmy and upbeat, retro-tinged sound with spiky guitar rhythms and shimmering synth, which builds into an emotive effervescent chorus. Thematically, the track explores the effects of depression, feeling numb, unchanging circumstances and uncertainty while the rest of the world continues to move forward. But theres hope, reassurance and warmth here both sonically and in the heartening lyrics, “But I have learnt nothing lasts, not even problems”; a cathartic and soothing introduction to the EP.

’Hard of Hearing’ opens more intimately with the opening line, “Another evening spent in the corners of my brain where I wander off into the dark”, but the track develops to incorporate rich, retro indie pop textures, and playful dynamics to juxtapose the more melancholic vocal delivery, “I know I’m not well, but I’m alright”; a catchy yet brooding track that screams of acceptance and optimism.

‘Personal Giants’ strips things back to the sparser and more organic style fans of Radical Face have become accustomed to. ‘Guilt’ kicks the tempo up a few notches and its rolling percussion, shimmering synth, poignant keys and haunting vocal melody is a thrilling combination as Radical Face confesses; “I was dancing with my ghosts, ‘cause I could never let ‘em go, but I’ve got to”. The song fades out on an instrumental which has a strong feeling of unburdening, continuing the theme of cleansing and catharsis. This is my favourite track on the EP.

’Better Days’ is a raw acoustic track that incorporates otherworldly orchestral vibes, but the lyrics are a focal point of the song as Radical Face reassures, “Try to remind yourself that it’s probably gonna take some time, but there are better days to find”. ‘Dead End’ closes the EP, building on the orchestral feeling in the previous track, but in a more romanticised fashion as Radical Face opens with the heartwarming lyrics, “Hello hope it’s been a while'“ closing the EP on a real high.

Radical Face has delivered exactly what the EP’s title suggests, a selection of songs that feels like therapy. Radical Face accepts pain as an intrinsic emotion and doesn’t shy away from its presence on the EP, yet has shifted the focus to create a series of songs that are embedded with hope and optimism, seeing Radical Face take back his agency. In doing so, the EP encourages others to do the same, to make peace with their own ghosts and dead ends and to move forward, one step at a time.

Words of Karla Harris