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Radkey: Devil Fruit 

The fruit of the devil, in the case of Radkey's second EP, is aggressive punk rock, and from the enthusiastic and already skilled approach Radkey take, they know full well which path it's taking them down. Biblical allusion aside, this trio of small-town Missouri brothers—the oldest is just 20—have recorded an EP that has the feel of a much more seasoned band, with a style that balances big hooks on the edge of recklessness.

"Hey hey now, things are burning up," shouts Dee Radke on the chorus for opener "Romance Dawn." The song starts with a steadily thumping kick drum—eight beats before the first buzz-saw guitar stroke arrives. For a song that becomes a full-bore sprint, it shows a remarkable bit of patience for the young punk band. "Little Man" is the most straightforward song of the bunch, a classic takedown lyrically, but musically a little flat, pushed by a repeating guitar riff and little else.

"Start Freaking Out" maximizes Radkey's energy, an anthem serving as statement of purpose for the band. "Overwhelmed" closes the EP with a more thrashy tone, and when the band finally spins out of control during the final 30 seconds, it's with a mixture of adrenaline and relief.

The band's publicity material cites the Descendents, the Ramones and Danzig, but Radkey has its antecedents in the whole world of punk rock. The devil fruit sounds good in Radkey's hands.

More by Eric Swedlund

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