added: 25 Sep 2012
// release date: 10 Sep 2012 // label: Stolen Recordings
reviewer: David Spencer
Since their debut in 2010, Race Horses have added to their stable (get it?) by bringing in a harpist turned guitarist in Mai Llewelyn and percussionist Dan Bradley and in effect they see Furniture as sounding like a different band. And now they are a five piece, the sound is different, perhaps simpler, strangely, but aimed at a broadening audience.
Singer Meilyr Jones says they wanted to make an album that was both stark and direct but also admits that they were partly inspired by listening to Michael Jackson and the production work of Quincy Jones. Not that is too evident on the ten tracks here. As danceable some of the tracks might be, this is quirky art pop that dips proudly into a very different eighties’ sound than Thriller or Bad.
Fans of Dexys Midnight Runners, there is a touch of Kevin Rowland about Jones’s vocal but much of their sound is more similar to the keyboard tinkering of the likes of early outfits duo Blancmange, especially on the excellent Nobody's Son (which starts like a mini version of Queen’s Radio Gaga) and the more croony What Am I To Do.
Likened to Field Music, Metronomy and Dutch Uncles the band do have a unique feel and a cheeky sense of humour too. Such as on the title track, when Jones seems to be viewing life from a sofa’s point of view; “It’s a sad affair when your mousey hair gets tangled, all your independence is strangled”.
Less oddball are the likes of Bad Blood with a throbbing Editors’ like keyboard and the haunting See No Green, while the anthemic My Year Abroad disappears into a laser quest style fuzz. The band's ability to place a good tune amidst the musical trickery is the key here but more important is that this is art-pop that is not too clever for its own good.
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