Gordon Raphael is, of course, most famous for producing The Strokes’ seminal debut ‘Is This It’ and its equally brilliant follow-up ‘Room On Fire’. If you’re anticipating his very own debut to mine similar wells of elegantly bored garage-rock, you might want to adjust your expectations somewhat.
‘Sleep On The Radio’ is more Bowie via Brian Jonestown Massacre than turn of the millennium NYC indie. ‘It’s So Sleepy In This Noisy Chair’ is a glammy psych collage, full of scratchy guitars and twinkling sitar sounds. ‘I Sleep On The Radio’ (an ode to growing up on pop radio) sounds like Richard Hell backed by a cheesy ’80s synth-pop group, while ‘I Said’ is a whirring piece of carpe diem weirdo rock.
This might only be Gordon’s first full-length release, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got decades worth of songwriting experience under his belt. In fact, ‘Sleep On The Radio’ represents what he believes are his 12 best tracks from a catalogue of thousands, carefully cultivated over the years between production gigs until they were ready for the world. ‘Savage’ is one of the collection’s highlights - a meandering but immediate kaleidoscope of beeps and buzzes - while the dark glam of ‘A Balanced Excess’ sounds like it was penned in a sparkly haze in the ’70s.
There are moments that could do with a little editing, however. ‘Never Shoulda Started’ doesn’t quite match up to the excitement and boundless, wide-eyed feel of the rest of the record, and ‘Superstrong’ doesn’t quite live up to its moniker. Still, ‘Sleep On The Radio’ is a neat insight into Gordon’s talents on the other side of the production desk and a more than worthy addition to his already heaving CV.