the most underrated and criminally ignored band in the country. In a world of wombats and razorlights the race should be king. buy this album and make them so, you won't regret it. it is genuinely ace.
What have Radiohead started? Of course, they're all at it now. When Thom and his lot decided to break away from their record label and do it themselves not only did they save money in the process but they created a buzz so great that even your granny was titillated. By the prospect of a new album by Britain's foremost band.
The Race have attempted a similar trick. Due to dwindling funds at Shifty Disco Records and with the band concerned their new album, In My Head It Works, would not be financed, the band and label got together and formulated a "stakeholder's fund" proposal. It works thus: 1,000 members of the public can choose to pay £25 for a stake in the album. For this you get a special edition copy of the album and a return on your investment if the album sells well. The label receives a potential £25,000 to produce and market the record. We'll have to wait and see if a band considerably lower down the music industry pecking order than Oxford's finest quintet can make a success out of what is a bold move.
It is quite an irony that the Race should be inspired by Radiohead's ground breaking ruse. Although a moot point for some, Radiohead have always been seen as the great innovators. What can not be denied is that each Radiohead release is a fresh experience, ultimately paving a path that many others walk down. However, with In My Head It Works, the Race will simply be seen as imitators, and not great ones at that. Right from the first stiffly-strummed chords, awkward, shy vocals, twinkling glockenspiels and military drum tapping it is clear that Bloc Party, among many, many others, also merit a stake hold on this particular album. If you were to tag this album you'd likely melt Facebook's server.
I Get It Wrong's mass of thickly-layered guitars, strings and keyboards (and about anything else lying about the studio at the time) certainly forms a potent din. The shriek: "correct / correct me" is repeated often enough for it to stick in the mind, but other lyrics simply trigger a wince: "Sorry if I made you cry / believe me I don't wanna lie / don't believe in all the hype / pain is real in every type." In an attempt to get it right, Johnny Greenwood's patented Creep "crunches" are inserted. As if we wouldn't notice!
Although Rude Boys, with its sleazy funk-step, Mick Jones fretwork and dispassionate vocals borrowed from a Police-era Sting, is individually one of the better tracks it still sits uncomfortably next to the likes of Automatic and label-mates, the Young Knives. There are just better examples of bands purveying this kind of caustic wit and indifference.
Moornood is pure Sigor Ros. Its delicate music box opening and lugubrious girl-boy lullaby is affecting as it is but the "big room" button is, frustratingly, pressed and the song lifts off with spasmodic chord progressions backed by strings and an unending wave of crashing cymbals. There are stadium-filling intentions here alright, but the failure to resist the loudness temptation is, on this album, a repeated offence.
Undecided is, incredibly, undecided. It flirts with so many options during its three minute duration that it feels like a six minute epic. Both Summer and Killer are simply dissonant masses of overly produced noise and would be ideally suited to the inducement of deep migraines. Better To Slip Away has the urgency and pace of Stereophonics' Dakota and Gloves is a Snow Patrol/Editors hybrid. Both are decent tracks in their own right even if that bloody button is pressed again during the latter. See You Sunday is a similar story. Trimming this album's excess might have produced a far different outcome.
Give Me Your Bible again adopts the play-every-instrument-until-your-fingers-bleed philosophy so fondly utilised by Editors. Eye-wateringly bad god-fearing lyrics accompany the profuse blood donoring: "And this is where I wanna be / I dont care for fame / Success is seasonal / I'm loving your name."
This record, in parts, is certainly produced to death. There can be no hope that any celebration money will remain from the £25,000. It is amazing how such a big venue sound, written with the intention of chilling the spines of thousands, can end up being quite so vapid. Devoid of graspable melodies, stimulating rhythm and meaningful lyrics, In My Head It Works simply doesn't.