Jonathan Rado – Law & Order

written by: September 3, 2013
Album-art-for-Law-and-Order-by-Jonathan-Rado Release Date: September 3, 2013


Foxygen co-leader Jonathan Rado has taken some time to record his debut solo LP Law & Order, which hits stores Sept. 3. He stays true to his roots as the keyboardist and guitarist for his main project with Sam France, dishing out a beautiful, minimalistic psychedelic rock record.

The album has all the features fans of the genre fans have come to love, complete with overdriven guitars, fuzzy vocals, and stoner jams across the board. While the album conforms to the stereotypes of the style, it brings novel ideas as well, and keeps a comfortable distance from Rado’s work in Foxygen.

The album has a warm, personal feel that listeners will welcome with open arms. It’s simple, yet very enjoyable and intriguing.

Law & Order opens up with its third single, “Seven Horses.” It’s a fun track with some catchy synth as the lead instrument and only a few repeated lines. Rado’s voice is doubled by a female vocalist that will become familiar over the course of the LP; the two make a great couple for the homey feel he is trying to accomplish with this simple song.

Tracks like “Looking 4a Girl Like U” are where Rado really shines. Although the lyrics are indiscernible for the most part, his vocals really stand out next to his groovy guitar and synth. The distortion-heavy melody he sings acts almost as another instrument that drips pure emotion. The passion is audible in his voice as he sings about the type of girl he’s been looking to find, and finally has.

The whole album sounds like one big experiment for Rado. He goes back and forth between fast, chaotic songs and slower, soothing tracks.

For example, “Dance Away Your Ego” is a cheery instrumental interlude that brightens up the mood after the epic preceding song. The track sounds like it’s been taken straight from the ’60s, and is sure to make listeners move their feet, as the title hints.

Rado also makes colorful combinations of sounds as he drags listeners along on his crazy acid trip of an album. In the entrancing ballad “Oh, Suzanna!,” he starts the track with an acoustic guitar and clean vocals, then kicks into a captivating collage of synth, bass, and drums under his distorted vocals. The extended song has a Doors-esque solo to bring it to a close, which ends on a wonderfully deranged clash of noise.

At no point on Law & Order can you grasp any sort of pattern or predict what will come next. This is perfectly expressed in the final track “Pot of Gold,” which sounds like an ’80s pop song. It’s completely alien to the rest of the album, but is still written well, although it doesn’t fit very well as the album closer. Instead of concluding on a magnificent note like it easily could have, Law & Order comes to a blundering end as the music decays and falls apart.

As a whole, this is an excellent album. It has everything one would assume it would, coming from half of Foxygen, yet so much more than one would expect. Rado has proven himself a formidable solo artist who could stand on his own if he ever wanted, but let’s hope that’s not the case.

Jonathan Rado – Law & Order tracklist:

  1. “Seven Horses”
  2. “Hand in Mine”
  3. “Looking 4a Girl Like U”
  4. “Dance Your Ego Away”
  5. “I Wood”
  6. “Faces”
  7. “Oh, Suzanna!”
  8. “All the Lights Went Out in Georgia”
  9. “I Wanna Feel it Now!!!”
  10. “Would You Always Be At Home?”
  11. “Law and Order”
  12. “Pot of Gold”