Fans of Radiant's heady tease of an EP, 2003's The Sound of Splitting Atoms, have waited a long time for this...but well, so has the band. Long enough they're releasing the album on their own. We Hope You Win is a venture that serves up their accessible but intelligent pop-rock with major-label aplomb and musicianship one would expect from veteran session players. Kicking off with ready-made single "That Girl," the young gents temper an album that could teeter on being too radio-friendly (other possible singles follow about every third song) with enough risks to stamp it inspired. Choral backing ("Sound of Splitting Atoms" and "Everybody Are You With Me?"), orchestration and the occasional dramatic vocal performance play more to the modern theatrics of Spiritualized, Muse or even the Killers than the too easily referenced Pink Floyd. Old hits "Way You Make Me Feel" and "If I Had Known" receive facelifts and make well-deserved appearances—a wise decision that will ease old fans into the new material. Unfortunately, it's pretty much a guarantee that Radiant will receive serious shit for quality production and lack of "indie" cred on this pop concoction. Some might even call the album a guilty pleasure, citing its readiness for the airwaves. Whatever. I'm gonna go against the critical blogosphere here and say that pitch-perfect harmonies, stuck-in-the-skull melodies and one helluva well-tuned drum kit (I beg all drummers to pay attention to Daniel Hopkins) do not schlock make.
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