Swedish conceptual pop duo the Radio Dept. can make even the most politically strident subject matter sound laid-back and pretty. Since 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme, the band has adopted new ways of melding euphoric pop jams and anti-fascist polemics with songs like “Swedish Guns”and “Occupied” from last year’s album Running Out Of Love.
In January we heard “Your True Name,” which we named one of the best songs of that week. It was a track that saw the group tinkering with a (slightly) more optimistic lyricism and warm shoegazey tones. But the Radio Dept.’s latest endeavor — a new song called “Going Down Swinging” — bounces back as a direct response to the upcoming Swedish national election.
The song starts with an industrial beat before the vocals unfold into something that sounds gauzy and soft. It’s one of the most blissful calls to action I’ve ever heard. Despite an effortless dream pop sensibility, “Going Down Swinging” slings razor sharp jabs at the current state of things: “Nazis should be dealt with like in Normandie/ Only inbreds join an alt right parade/ Someone please tell that to Morrissey.”
In an email, the Radio Dept. wrote:
The Swedish national election is coming up and that means we’re putting out a new single. What else could we do? There are references to church bells in the lyrics, listeners from outside of Sweden might want to know this: In May 2014 and on a couple of occasions since, churches in Sweden have been ringing their bells during nazi marches to warn the public. Before 2014 this hadn’t been done since 1939. Because of the huge problems we have with increasing racism in our country it is a very welcome gesture. Personally we don’t believe in gods but we do believe nazis and their peers – however they choose to present or disguise themselves – should be dealt with like in World War II.