I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit my discovery of The Radio Dept. was due to Sofia Coppola's inspired use of the heartbreakingly beautiful 'Pulling Our Weight'. M83 and others may have helped revive and promote the ambrosial, blurry brilliance of Kevin Shields and The Cocteau Twins in recent years, but The Radio Dept. have done more to actually progress the genre than anyone involved in what has unfortunately become known as "nu-gaze". Though heavily influenced, it's far from mere mimicry; a less stifling haze, an eerily controlled distortion, a uniquely Scandinavian precision, like a piece of flat-packed furniture, or a Volvo.

While the desired effect of My Bloody Valentine, and others, was to overwhelm with a self-manifested torrent of distortion (the holocaust section of 'You Made Me Realise'), The Radio Dept. have been overwhelmingly effervescent, and less inclined to completely bury their melodies. The formula has worked both critically and commercially, even as they've tried to sabotage their own success. After releasing their uncharacteristic, yet still acclaimed, third LP last April, Clinging to a Scheme , The Radio Dept. have issued a collection of favourites entitled Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 .

Hailing from Lund, Sweden, the fog surrounding the group's history is as hazy as their music, and the only common link seems to be co-founder Johan Duncanson. This fractured lineage, coupled with a very low public profile, has helped shroud The Radio Dept. in mystery. In a sense, the group is an apparition; they've never really existed, in any state, long enough to be properly received by their fan base, and that's always added a haunting element to their music.

An unwillingness to participate in mundane promotional obligations, and an erratic release schedule has further complicated public relations. Scouring the discography of fractured full-lengths can be confusing, so it's nice to finally have a thoughtfully assembled collection for established fans, but more importantly an easier way for new listeners to get up to speed. The thrill, at least for me, was to find out exactly what songs Duncanson himself would deem worthy of faithfully representing the many incarnations of The Radio Dept.

Released just two years ago, 'Freddie And The Trojan Horse' recalls Construction Time Again era Depeche Mode, and already sounds noticeably different from the experimental, post-punk, dub and ambient moments found on Clinging to a Scheme. The single 'David' has a very important place on this record as the best representation of The Radio Dept.'s current sound, with a massive dub-bass line, in the vein of Saint Etienne's cover of Neil Young's 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'. A similar approach is taken with 'Never Follow Suit', one that I inexplicably missed off Clinging to a Scheme. Also Included with Passive Aggressive is a collection of B-sides that explores past and present experimentations.

This collection seems to signal the beginning of an extended stylistic departure, where the shoegaze/dream-pop influence is even further diminished. So, as The Radio Dept. tread over yet another line of delineation, and shuffle members in and out, it's nice to finally be able to accurately document the impressive range covered so far.

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