RADKEY, 100 Club – Evening Standard, 6 March 2014

You couldn’t make Radkey up — three black teenage brothers from Missouri, homeschooled and now managed by their father, Matt Radke, who cocooned them in his influences until they emerged as the unlikeliest punk-rock butterflies last year.

They look fantastic. You can choose your favourite on the basis of their hairstyles, like a Spice Girl, whether it’s drummer Solomon’s broad mohawk, bassist Isaiah’s afro and nascent moustache, or guitarist Dee’s sight-impairing dreadlocks. They also sound unhinged and plenty of fun.

An early slot on Jools Holland’s show helped the hype, and this was the last night on their first headline tour. Yet they still have to record a debut album, tentatively scheduled as far away as autumn. Who knows what they’ll sound like by then.

Newest single Feed my Brain showed progress by slowing things down slightly and employing the grunge dynamic of calm verse and explosive chorus. Elsewhere the interest came from the contrast between Dee’s frantic guitar and his deep, relatively subtle croon.

Some songs such as Start Freaking Out and Red Letter were basic, bruising, punk by numbers. Romance Dawn was a superior composition with its changes of pace and wild chorus, a fact they acknowledged by playing it last.

Questions remain about whether the novelty of their backstory has propelled them ahead of countless other rowdy garage rockers but they have time to become more interesting musically. What they have for now is youthful vigour and raw power, an immediate thrill that will do fine for now.