Torch Song

Radiator Hospital

"You say you'll cut your bangs/I'm calling your bluff" – what the hell kind of breakup song is that? The kind that could only come from Radiator Hospital. Sam Cook-Parrott is some kind of boy wonder at feelings-working-overtime songs, combining pop-punk fervor with heart-on-sleeve tenderness and wit. On the Philly band's superb second album, he has a live wire of a voice – sometimes abrasive ("Five & Dime"), usually hilarious ("Bedtime Story"), but always nailing the mood at a surprise angle. When Cook-Parrott croons the muted lullaby "Sleeping House" – "I will be the only bad dream in your sleeping house" – it's an awkwardly emotional gem. Not that this guy would have any other kind.

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