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EP Review : Sunset Radio – ‘Youth Roots’

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Review by Andy Houghton for MPM

Pop-punk quintet Sunset Radio haven’t made a huge impact outside of their native Italy, but that may be set to change with the release of their latest EP ‘Youth Roots’.

As the name suggests, the EP is a tip of the hat to the bands – both Italian and abroad – that have influenced Sunset Radio’s work.

As the band themselves say, ‘Youth Roots is a reflection of “the songs with which we grew up, where we drew inspiration. Songs that were to form the band’s artistic and emotional background. A small tribute both to the historical bands, both to all the bands of the Italian and non-Italian punk-rock / pop-punk scene, which inspired us.

The EP’s release follows on from the band’s earlier albums: ‘Vices’ in 2016 and ‘All The Colors Behind You’ three years later – and is a prelude to the forthcoming release of a new single from their third album in March 2022.

First of the EP’s six tracks is ‘International You Day’. Each song features a guest artist – in this case Étienne Dionne (Mute) – and is performed as a faithful reflection of the original track. This opening number is certainly a creditable cover of the original by No Use For A Name, and indeed brings with it a slightly fresher, cleaner sound.

The same can be said of ‘Boys Of Summer’, an energetic recreation of Don Henley’s song that’s even livelier than the original and features the voice of Dario di Franceschi from Rome’s The Anthem. Equally punchy is their delivery of NOFX’s ‘Linoleum’, with Hans Roofthooft from Belgium’s F.O.D.

Brian Autore (Vanilla Sky) features on ‘Ocean Avenue’, a worthy tribute to Yellowcard’s original. Lagwagon’s ‘Alien 8’ is up next, and gets a frenetic makeover with contributions by melodic hardcore punk rockers Lorenzo & Federico of Beerbong. Finally, Blink 182’s ‘Josie’ draws things to a close in suitably blistering style with support from Melody Fall’s vocalist & guitarist Fabry Panebarco.

Cover EPs are often so-so affairs, but not this one. Sunset Radio have created a fitting tribute to the soundscape of their formative years with ‘Youth Roots’, and with the creative involvement of key figures from the current rock/punk scene have managed to bring something refreshingly new to every track. Recommended.

Tracklisting:

1 International You Day feat. Etienne (Mute)

2 Boys Of Summer feat. Dario (The Anthem)

3 Linoleum feat. Hans (F.O.D.)

4 Ocean Avenue feat. Brian (Vanilla Sky)

5 Alien 8 feat. Lorenzo & Federico (Beerbong)

6 Josie feat. Fabry (Melody Fall)

Youth Roots’ is released on January 21st, 2022

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