Coming off of their 2016 self-titled release, which featured frantic drums in constant combat with noisily nimble guitar (leaning towards YES on the math-rock spectrum), Curling strike a surprisingly measured posture on their latest single. Glued to a propulsive beat and pressing its way through a hail of glittering arpeggios, “Radio King” doesn’t let up until the last note splashes off into the sunset, leaving a memory trail of sparkling, no-nonsense melodies in its wake.
There’s a curious purity to Curling’s approach this time around. For a band used to off-time turnaround riffs and intricately stitched together fills, hearing them jam out and ride the beat so consistently is a breath of fresh air. Given time and space to get comfortable in the mix, that virtuosic intensity brings out a sweetly nostalgic side to the band. It pairs especially well with singer Bernie Gelman’s knack for aching wistfulness, affecting a tone that’s somewhere between Duster and vintage Built to Spill.
In a better world, the stadium-sized falsetto choruses of “Radio King” would be a swift ticket into the ranks of FM royalty. As a single, it’s a phenomenal entry point into the limited but rapidly expanding universe that Curling is building around them.