For the past 15 years, Jensen Ackles has been fighting his way through one apocalyptic scenario after another as Dean Winchester on the hit CW show “Supernatural.” In 2018, Ackles formed the rock band Radio Company with his friend Steve Carlson, and on Nov. 8 the group released its debut album “Vol. 1.”
With Ackles and Carlson alternating lead vocals from song to song, listeners are sure to stay engaged. Ackles goes for a hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll saunter with hints of grittiness in his vocals, while Carlson carries a subtle country rock twang with smoother vocals.
“Cannonball” and “All On Your Own” are possibly the best songs to distinguish the range of Ackles’ talent. “Cannonball” is a fast-paced tune with distorted vocals and a roaring electric guitar. In “All On Your Own,” Ackles switches from fast-paced and gritty to soft and smooth.
Carlson stays slow-paced and intimate on “Off My Mind.” Softer vocals and subtle guitars in the background bring a somber and vulnerable feeling for the listeners to hear. But in the song “Bound,” Carlson shows listeners his fun side, changing to a fast-paced rhythm and putting a subtle echo effect on his voice.
The overall tone of the album seems to have a rock vibe going. Since “Supernatural” is known for its bad-boy aesthetic and rock music-dominated soundtrack, some of the songs from the album, specifically Ackles’ songs, would fit in well on the show’s soundtrack.
Unknowingly to fans, one of the tracks on “Vol. 1” premiered the day before the album’s release date. In the Ackles-directed episode four of the 15th season of “Supernatural,” the audience was treated to the track “Sounds of Someday” as Ackles’ haunting vocals played in the background. With guitar riffs similar to The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” the song is enough to send chills down the listener's spine.
The only thing that might discourage some people is that some of the songs use instrumentals possibly too much before the main vocals are introduced. “Drowning” and “When I’m Down,” for example, have instrumental solos that go on for a minute before the audience hears any vocals. This might not be bad for some people, but those who are fans of vocal-centric music might get bored on some songs.
Overall, the album is fantastic. Some songs had dominating bass, electric guitars and electric drum rhythms, and others sported sprinkles of country through Ackles’ Texan accent and acoustic guitar. They were able to balance both Ackles’ and Carlson’s vocals perfectly, and the songs blended well together even though they were sung by two different people. The duo already announced they’re going to make a “Vol. 2,” and after the sonic variety of “Vol. 1,” the type of music they’ll give their listeners next is anyone’s guess.