ALBUM REVIEW: Race Horses – Furniture

Written for DIY

People who, like a disgruntled middle-aged man (or perhaps simply people who are disgruntled middle-aged men), were disillusioned with the theatrical, pretentious pomposity from the recently revived Dexy’s (nee Midnight Runners) – perhaps preferring when they did proper knees-up pop songs: Race Horses are the new band for you.

With a similar sympathetic ear for music hall song structures and Cockney boozer piano, filtered into a modern pop shape, Race Horses even have the Dexy’s feel of a gang – something you don’t get from bands much in the tenties (or wherever we are now) – the best song on the album is even called ‘Mates’ (it’s a break-up song but shush)!

That said, despite the Cockney feel, you couldn’t get a more Welsh band than Race Horses, with names like Meilyr, Dylan, Dan, Mali and Gwion. ‘Furniture’ is the fivesome’s second album and whereas their debut, ‘Goodbye Falkenburg’, had a whiff of countrymen Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci now, well, it’s a little more ‘Come On Eileen’.

For a band whose last record was – urk – a concept album, Race Horses seem adept at erring on the ride side of pomposity. Whenever a lyric leans towards cheese (toastie) – such as penitent “I wanted to crawl / I kneel down to cry / I pick myself up / Take a look at the sky” on ‘Nobody’s Son’ – they undercut it with music that is almost kitchen sink-anthemic; lo-fi synths and effects float around the garagey racket of the main setup. The vocals, the sort of in-vogue bruised romantic glee akin to the falsetto of Wild Beasts, with a hint of Bryan Ferry’s lounge lizard thrown in for good measure, help to pull back on the reins a bit too.

The instrumental interlude of ‘World 6’ does slow things down a little just as some real momentum is building, but it’s not enough to take the sheen off the likes the shy disco of ‘Bad Blood’, with its Roxy Music breakdown, or the Grizzly Bear-esque piano ballad that closes the record, ‘Old And New’. Backing these stallions is a very safe bet.

7/10

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