Red City Radio – The Dangers of Standing Still

written by: March 4, 2011
Red City Radio - The Dangers of Standing Still album cover Release Date: February 22, 2011


Oklahoma City’s Red City Radio has a lot of things working against them, like being from Oklahoma City.

The band’s We Are the Sons and Daughters of Woody Guthrie EP was first released in 2009 and was a fairly standard affair given the sound many new bands were striving. While Woody Guthrie had its flaws, it showed promise that many others lacked, as evinced by the band’s ability to not just ape genre pioneers like Jawbreaker and Dillinger Four, but to use them as a jumping off point. On the band’s first full-length release The Dangers of Standing Still, Red City Radio proves that the high points on their EP weren’t flukes.

Over the course of the album’s 35 minutes, Red City Radio finds a way to bridge the gap between the technical musicianship of Hot Water Music with the pop hooks of bands such as the Descendents.

It’s a fitting comparison given that Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton recorded the band’s EP and full-length, giving the songs striking clarity while avoiding overproduction.

Those familiar with Red City Radio’s prior work won’t be shocked with The Dangers of Standing Still, as it never deviates from the pop-hardcore approach for which the band is becoming known. This is not to say that the album falls into Ramones territory – 12 tracks that all sound identical – but there isn’t much diversity here either. At times, it’s hard to remember what song is actually playing due to the band’s constant use of whoa’s and complementary vocal harmonies between guitarists/vocalists Garrett Dale and Paul Pendley.

What keeps Red City Radio’s album from feeling too similar throughout is the skilled rhythm section. Jonathon Knight’s bass playing adds a groove under Dale and Pendley’s interlocking guitar work that is both subtle and lively, but it is drummer Dallas Tidwell who is the true stand-out. Tidwell’s drumming avoids many of the pitfalls often found in pop-punk. His work on the kick drum is intricate, but it is his ability to slide into off-time fills that keep the songs engaging from start to finish.

The Dangers of Standing Still is, at its core, a love letter to Oklahoma.

Red City Radio’s unabashed love for their home comes through on several of the album’s songs and it’s always charming. One of the album’s stand-outs is “Spinning in Circles Is a Gateway Drug,” a song that perfectly sums up the record’s central thesis. When Dale sings – in a vocal style akin to Bender from Futurama – “To the city that I hold dearly/But everyone talks shit about” it is utterly genuine before simply stating, “I’m gunna stay and make something out of this town.”

The Dangers of Standing Still is far from perfect. It can easily blend together due to the lack of diversity, but it never stops being enjoyable. It’s a great record to put on and sing-along to in the company of friends, but it’s hard to say how much staying power it will have.

Red City Radio – The Dangers of Standing Still tracklist:

  1. “An Introduction of Sorts”
  2. “The Benefits of Motion”
  3. “Two for Flinching”
  4. “Spinning in Circles Is a Gateway Drug”
  5. “Too Much Whiskey Not Enough Blankets”
  6. “50th & Western”
  7. “I’m Well, You’re Poison”
  8. “Captioned for the Hearing Impaired”
  9. “This Day Has Seen Better Bars”
  10. “Drinking Ourselves into the Future”
  11. “Talk Me to Sleep”
  12. “Nathaniel Martinez”