Race Horses – Goodbye Falkenborg (Fantastic Plastic) 18/01/2010

January 17, 2010 by  

In Race Horses’ recent press release they state they wanted to make their ‘fifth album first’.
Certainly ambitious words for the Welsh experimental four piece and their debut outing ‘Goodbye Falkenborg’.

Formerly Radio Luxembourg, 2009 saw the release of the renamed band’s first two singles, the glorious ‘Man In My Mind’ and tasty track ‘Cake’, which both kick off the album with vigour. The former a fresh approach to ‘60s rock and roll, with soft psychedelic undertones, showing signs of great potential for the album as a whole. ‘Cake’ is catchy infectious pop, as spunky and as fresh as any ‘modern music’ out there at the moment, reminiscent of ‘Super Furry Animals’ – a definite highlight.

‘Pony’ and ‘Isle Of Ewe’ keep the pace going, with sumptuous harmonies and nods to fringe ‘00s bands ‘Draytones’ and ‘Hal’, followed by ‘Cacen Magmu’ – a jaunty piece, in the Super Furry Animals vein.

Five songs in ‘Goodbye Falkenborg’ sounds like the album of the year so far, but unfortunately after the blissful ballad ‘Glo Ac Oren’ the quality of the first six is not rekindled.

The problem here on in is not that RH have a lack of ideas, they just lack any good ones. The remainder of the album becomes either overambitious and too experimental – which possibly is the problem with trying to create that ‘fifth album first’ – or just plain dull and pointless.

There is no need for a reprise of first track ‘Man In My mind’, and experimental fillers ‘Intergalactic Space Rebellion’ and especially ‘Discopig’ are unnecessary. The latter is unbelievable – a pigs ‘oink’ with a ?30 keyboard beat. Seriously.

What is left of the second half of the album contains many a juvenile attempt at sophistication, with songs sounding like children’s TV tune music, which are as exciting as a Robbie Williams B-Side. (Although ‘Scooter’ is one exception, ramshackle, no nonsense, and once again fun).

It’s possibly the bands reliance on their influences which distracts from their obvious talent. For a debut it’s difficult to pick out their identity, which was being carved out in their early album tracks.

Aside from the obvious Super Furry’s influence, there are distinct nods to the Beach Boys, Kinks, Small Faces, and more noticeably the Beatles. Although you can’t deny album closer ‘Marged Wedi Blino’, like ‘Captain Penelope Smith’ is fun, it’s basically ‘The Ballad of John & Yoko’ re-worded until it’s drawn out conclusion.

The problem with Goodbye Falkenborg is it is fun – but that’s all you get. At it’s best, Race Horses first album is hugely entertaining. But when the band are having all the fun, we lose out.

If this is their fifth Album, I look forward to their debut.

[rating:3.5]

Joe Morrison


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