Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Elsewhere always hails pop-rock/whatever delivered by musicians who feel they've just invented it. Their enthusiasm is infectious and worth a dozen by weight of music from more senior and crafted writers.
Auckland band Racing -- whose members have been around a couple of years – have released four singles, and here hit the sweet'n'energetic spot between excitement and craft because the four members all have been in previous bands: Two – singer Ed Knowles and guitarist Sven Pettersen from the excellent rock band Checks -- bassist Daniel Barrett from the experimental Sherpa and drummer Izaak Houston from Space Creeps who worked with electro-beats.
That's a promising meltdown of ideas and ideologies which means they've got the guitar-rock firepower and slow-burn material in place, a familiarity with studio and each other, and know their way around a song structure.
These form-fitting songs are strapped tight (Motel Pool, Devil's Work), breadth which explodes into stadium-shaped ballads (Run Wild with a hammering keyboard part and a production which is Imex-sized with guitarist Pettersen gloriously self-indulgent).
Prog-rock ambition has rarely sounded so mega-sized . . . and so rocked out: Scuse me while Sven kisses the sky, and Houston holds everything earthbound behind Knowles' emotional reach.
At other times these songs leap to life over Daniel Barrett's busy bass (the gloriously Eighties sound, chorus and title of Drugs and Affection, the appropriately titled and dance-floor funk-rock of Move Your Body with falsetto) or disco-rock of Party Slow and dancefloor-directed Misbehaving.
This sounds like a band which has back-channels to disco-funk, Kiss, Guns'N Roses, probably the Style Council (a 21stcentury take on them in Blue Gloom), Funkadelic and . . .
Yet out of that melange they come out as . . . Racing.
And that is a very good thing.
Electric Honey is one of those should-be international dancefloor/rock hits but probably won't be given it's come out in this smaller marketplace. A 15 minute remix is right there waiting for all comers.
Okay, not everything works at quite the same level (despite it's weird poetics the already successful The Bass seems pretty obvious in its quiet-BLOODY LOUD dynamic) and the final track Australia means the album limps to close rather then going out with a punch.
But this debut aims high as enjoyment and a play-loud/see us live encounter.
Racing is a band much more than the sum of its impressive parts.
They have infectious enthusiasm coupled with craft, a colour-chart of assimilated and understood rock (anyone else want to mention “crimson and clover” as they do on slightly-delic The Alcoves?) with soul and soul-funk reference points . . . and coming up as something promising which is . . .
Real Dancing is the exciting mid-point between rock-nod and dancefloor liberation, often aiming for the latter as much as the former which is such a respectable old school thing to do.
And yet of the future-now.
A terrific psychedelic dance-rock album for 22-year olds, or those who think they might still be.
As Bob Dylan once famously said: “Play it fucking loud”.
Real Dancing will also be available on limited edition vinyl