• Record Label: Nettwerk
  • Release Date: Jul 28, 2009
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. A gorgeous, swoonsome album that electrifies and stimulates in all the right places.
  2. Uncut
    80
    A palatial record. [Mar 2009, p.89]
  3. Mojo
    80
    For Radio Wars, producer Dan Grech-Marguerat has opened out their sound, but the atmosphere of intrigue remains. [Apr 2009, p.98]
  4. Radio Wars demands its listeners heed that siren song, and it's truthfully hard to resist.
  5. Based solely on its musical sensibilities and lyricism one couldn’t say Radio Wars was a more mature effort than its predecessor. But given that it indicates its creators’ comfort in their being, it certainly sounds grown up.
  6. Too often on Radio Wars, velvet-voiced singer Juanita Stein seems content to hover around a handful of notes, and that makes it hard to distinguish this stuff from similarly styled fare by the Duke Spirit or Doves.
  7. Sometimes wars are won with persistence and numbers alone, after all. And in any case, when you're cruising along in a pleasure craft as nice and reliable as this one, it's all right to tread a little water.
  8. They hail from sunny Sydney, but this solid second set cements the Bells firmly in rock's melancholia tradition, echoing the Bunnymen and Tindersticks.
  9. The album's first half conceals those weaknesses beneath dramatic arrangements, but the law of diminishing returns sets in by the midway point.
  10. There exists a plodding, phoned-in emotional evenness here which, for a band trading on matters of the soul, is a big problem and one that will stop them entering the arenas those strings were employed for.
  11. Q Magazine
    60
    [The new sound] works well on single 'Cities Burning Down,' which glides by catchily with a curious mix of muscle and lethargy, but it's less welcome on the cod-psychedlic 'Let's Be Kids' or the trite 'Golden Web,' both which are cosmetically seemless, but lack depth. [Apr 2009, p.105]
  12. All in all though, Radio Wars is disappointingly average; pleasant but fairly forgettable, and in contrast to its misleading title, should really have been named Radio Friendly instead.
  13. On their second album, Radio Wars, the Bells deliver billowy dream pop accented with atmospheric guitars, string arrangements and digitized beats.
  14. Howling Bells fall into the same trap that kills most sorta-weird rock bands when they try to write a more popular sophomore album: Everything sounds bigger, but everything is easily more forgettable.
  15. The way that Howling Bells constructed Radio Wars relies on strong melodies, hooks, songs, songs that aren’t really there, ideas not quite developed.
  16. Musically, it's all mid-tempo indie-by-numbers, shimmery enough to accompany an scene of upbeat emotion in Dawson's Creek; yet sufficiently credible, as indie so often is, to provide the soundtrack to a montage of trailers in an advert for a new Film 4 season.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Roberts
    Jul 30, 2009
    5
    Not half as good as their debut album. Adequate but forgettable.
  2. AJTF
    Jul 29, 2009
    5
    There's already one Metric.
  3. FredR.
    Jul 28, 2009
    6
    Saw them open for Snow Patrol and Coldplay in Vancouver and they were excellent. This album is very disappointing compared to their live set. Saw them open for Snow Patrol and Coldplay in Vancouver and they were excellent. This album is very disappointing compared to their live set. The band rocks much harder and is edgier live. Full Review »