Amersham Road / Hope Song (Shifty Disco)
~reviewed by Stuart Moses
There are times when you’re listening to the radio and suddenly you hear a song which blows you away. Often the song in question is by a band you’ve never heard before. DJ Gideon Coe roused me from my work-inspired lethargy in such a manner when I heard him play “Hope Song” by Reading five-piece The Race on his BBC 6 Music show.
“Hope Song” is one of two songs that make up The Race’s second single. It’s an epic full of yearning. Singer Dan sounds like a Robert Smith, with fewer affectations. The lyrical content is not a million miles away from that of The Cure either: “I’ve seen lately, you’re starting to change, from someone I love, to someone I hate.” Then in comes a wave of guitars worthy of Kitchens of Distinction and I’m swept away by the emotion.
Just before the two minute mark everything goes quiet and Dan sings: “Honey, you can be, all you wanted.” I wonder if the honey/bee pun was intentional? I digress. There’s talk of “falling into the sea” and the tide of guitars return. It’s simple and elegant. The heightened emotions are palpable. This is what music should be about.
“Amersham Road” is a little more straightforward. Here there are elements of U2, back when Bono and the boys were lean and hungry. The FX-laden guitars float over the driving rhythm section. Fans of The Chameleons should investigate immediately. The song builds to a furious climax with apocalyptic drumming suggesting that The Race are a band worth investigating live.
It’s early days for The Race. Their sound is not entirely original, but there is plenty of time to transcend their influences. The success of bands like Coldplay shows that listeners want music that is melancholy. I just hope more people take a step out of the mainstream and tread the same deep water as The Race.
Dan Buchanan - vocals
Jess del Rio - vocals and guitars
Graeme Moorcroft - bass
James del Rio - guitars
Andy Aitken - drums
The website: http://www.theraceuk.com/