Race Horses - Goodbye Falkenburg

At last, a band with a bit of ambition and, no, not the ambition to be on the next series of Celebrity Allotment Karate, but rather to craft some pristine pop music. Race Horses hail from proper welshy Wales, thankfully too far out in the sticks to be tainted by the’ too cool for school’ Cardiff hipster scene where the merest hint of a tune or production values are enough to lead a band to an early grave. Free to experiment the band have created what they describe as their “fifth album” as a debut. Rich in ideas and a captivating joie de vivre Goodbye Falkenburg reveals a band with a definite sense of purpose: screw pro-tools they’ve gone back to basics and this is the most organic, analogue album you’ll hear all year. It’s not lo-fi, if anything it’s a lush and warm as anything by ELO, but their frame of reference spreads far and wide through time and space, leaving us with something recognisable but, at the same time, wholly original and genuinely exciting.

The appearance of Race Horses comes as something of a relief as, since the demise of Gorkys Zygotic Mynci Welsh music has come to be dominated by an avalanche of second rate faceless nu metal/emo. The rot stops here though and at last there’s a Welsh pop band fit to share a paragraph with the likes of Gorkys and the criminally underrated Big Leaves. There are similarities with these predecessors of course but Race Horses are no parochial karaoke act, this is something entirely new and this is perfectly exemplified by their approach to the language; switching effortlessly and almost imperceptible between English and Welsh mid song. There are no artificial boundaries, no token concessions to Meibion Glyndwr, just a natural desire to go with whatever feels right. Similarly the instrumentation isn’t limited to the standard rock n roll set up of guitar, bass and drums and it’s refreshing to hear a band prepared to dig out the xylophone for their debut album.

Having said all that, opening track and recent single ‘Man in My Mind’ is a straight ahead, fashionably sloppy indie rock track which wouldn’t feel out of place in the hands of Pete and Carl. The magic of the band is quickly revealed though in the madcap ‘Cake’ which revels in the joys of baking like the Hairy Bikers rooting through Delia’s cutlery drawers; no stone is left unturned and the Velvets-like driving guitar is augmented by Motown handclaps, backmasked guitar lines and the the most deliciously daft lyrics this side of the Bonzo’s.

We like baking all night long, we share our love with everyone


The album achieves a remarkable feat of presenting a united whole, loosely based upon the deathbed reminiscence of an old seadog, while taking in a kaleidoscopic array of music styles from the String Band psychedelia of ‘Isle of Ewe’ through the Salvation Army oompah insanity of ‘Cacen Mamgu’ and the pastoral folk of ‘Glo Ac Oren’ which drifts gently downstream past the wreck of the good ship Mynci. Heck ‘Voyage To St Louiscious’ even conjurs up a mariachi band and invokes the spookyJoe Meek intensity of ‘Johnny Remember Me’. In essence Race Horses are a proper, old fashioned British pop band and, if you need convincing of how wonderful a thing that can be, just check out the high kicking Libertines meets Freddie and The Dreamers doo-wop pop of ‘Scooter’. Either get those jazz hands ready for some dancefloor action or get back to your Lost Prophets albums. Ladies and gentlemen It’s time to testify, I give you a testimonial…

Overall

9

out of 10

Last updated: 18/04/2018 17:40:29

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