(4 out of 5)
There’s an unprepossessing confidence – call it a lazy swagger – to the sound of the Radio Dept., a quality which has helped the Swedish noise-pop group develop a small but enthusiastic gaggle of fans outside of their homeland. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE: SINGLES 2002-2010 provides a great overview of the band’s approach by compiling a disc’s worth of A-sides and compilation appearances, and another filled with B-sides and other rarities. Arranged chronologically, the two discs move briskly – and in parallel fashion – charting the band’s sonic progress through three LPs, four EPs, and a clutch of singles. TRD’s early, Mary Chain-inspired fuzz-swoon gives way to mellower, drum machine-powered dream pop, and then, eventually, the jaunty, near-danceable newer songs like “Heaven’s on Fire.“ For a group with such a singular sound and seemingly lackadaisical approach to releasing new music, it’s interesting to hear just how much the Radio Dept. has progressed, while the spacious motorik drone of their most recent song – “The New Improved Hypocrisy,” released online just last September – points the way to where they’ll be moving going forward.