Go Radio: Close The Distance Review

Ex-Mayday Parade frontman Jason Lancaster is renowned for his lyrical and emotional sophistication, but his new project’s sophomore album is yet another impressive progression, showcasing incredible artistry and composition throughout. From its opening notes, Close The Distance captivates with a more mature and, believe it or not, eloquent Go Radio. Intricately layered songs, often enhanced by stirring piano in the background, fill this phenomenal followup, making it one of the most refreshing alternative efforts of the year. Go Radio succeeded in establishing their name with Lucky Street, but this new album surpasses it in nearly every way. The demise of Mayday Parade so many years ago was unfortunate, especially since A Lesson In Romantics was one of the greatest pop punk albums of all time; but with Close The Distance, it’s impossible to cling to any of that past resentment, as if feels as though everything was leading up to this. The pop punk sound of Go Radio’s debut is slightly diminished this time around, but fans will be delighted with this more refined and mature musical style of piano-laden rock, which better reflects Lancaster’s poignant song writing.

Standout Tracks

“I Won’t Lie” opens the band’s latest album with an incredibly addicting and sincere dose of a more mature Go Radio that calls the piano rock style of The Fray to mind. Lancaster crushes the chorus, a knack he displays for the album’s entirety, but what’s truly impressive about this leadoff track is its ability to immediately grab the listener’s attention. From the group chant in the background to the subtle touch of piano, this upbeat but emotionally complex song is brought home by Lancaster’s genuine proclamations of “I won’t lie / I’ve waited a million hours to say that / I will die / If you leave me / You are the way my heart beats / You are the words my tongue speaks / And I will die if you leave me.”

Go To Hell” operates on a pretty simple ideological premise that anyone can guess just from looking at the title, but this song is too damn catchy and well-articulated to be anything less than the best song of Close The Distance. The prominence of Lancaster’s piano on this album is apparent on this track as his keyboard gives it a bluesy feel, but what seems to be a love song quickly turns into an upbeat and rhythmic rocker, complete with jazzy guitar riffs from Alex Reed, deep drumming from Steven Kopacz and Lancaster’s bold, angst-charged declarations: “If you’re reading this then I’m not here / Take your someone else / And let me make this crystal clear / That I don’t need your help / And I’m okay by myself / You can go to hell.”

Lancaster’s talent for writing powerful, moving and relatable ballads is no secret by now, but it’s amazing how he manages to still surprise with the affecting “What If You Don’t.” The simple combination of Lancaster, piano and strings in the background shouldn’t be this stunning anymore, but heartfelt lyrics and their emotional delivery from Go Radio’s frontman help this song leave a lasting impression.

The Verdict

Go Radio’s pop punk sound takes a backseat on Close The Distance, but in its place is a more mature style of alternative, piano rock that showcases this band’s considerable talent as effectively as before, if not more so. Lancaster’s piano skills take on an expanded role to add more emotion, Alex Reed handles his tone-setting guitar riffs with poise, Kopacz sets the pace on the drums and Matt Burns provides some groovy bass hooks to give each song its own feel and sense of artistry. Lancaster steals the spotlight at times with his elevated and wailing vocals that are magnificent to behold, seen best as he belts out long notes on the drawn out and dramatic closer “Hear Me Now.” Fans of Mayday Parade, The Fray, Counting Crows, Every Avenue, Stages and Stereos, Jack’s Mannequin, Switchfoot and The Maine will likely be familiar with Go Radio’s musical style, but Close The Distance tops any effort from these peers in recent memory. Mayday Parade fans will always wonder what might have been had Lancaster stayed with his old group, but Go Radio fans have yet another reason to urge those bitter fans to move on and instead, find comfort in the excellent sophomore album that is Close The Distance.

Final Score: 9.4/10

Rank: 1st (two total albums)

Track List

  1. I Won’t Lie
  2. Baltimore
  3. Collide
  4. Go To Hell
  5. Lost And Found
  6. Close The Distance
  7. What If You Don’t
  8. Things I Don’t See
  9. The Ending
  10. Over Me
  11. Hear Me Out

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