A welcome return from the seemingly cursed Radio 4 (hospitalised percussionists, cancelled tours, and the return of Bush to the White House all taking their toll on the band). If ever a band got close to the feel of The Clash's later dalliances with new and unexpected musical forms, then it is Radio 4: They take the sound of punk and new wave and create stunning hybrids by forcing disco beats and refrains into their songs.
"Digital recording heroes!" is the ridiculously catchy chorus of Transmission, and given enough airplay and exposure, the band will surely become the heroes that they sing about. Of course, fantastic A-sides are not always what makes a great single. Indeed, much of the attention on the release of Transmission has been very much focused on the B-sides and the remixes, the stand out being the remix of Nation by none other than Lee Scratch Perry. Here, Radio 4 sound more like The Clash than ever as the ghost of Joe Strummer hangs like a cloud of heavy spliff smoke over the assured dub of The Black Ark.
While Radio 4 are not by any means a new band, their politicised punk/funk (as some are calling it) is most certainly a breath of fresh air. With Primal Scream being fairly quiet at the moment, and very little political comment being committed to record these days by the likes of Coldplay or those other musical magpies Radiohead (instead preferring to air their views from rostrums or charity singles), Radio 4's polemic is nothing short of a rush. "Do you like justice?" they ask on the Nation. If there is any justice at all, more and more of you will take this band to your hearts (and minds).