Have you ever fell in love with a song just as the first note/beat/lyric comes out of the speakers? That’s exactly what happened to me as I began listening to Races’ song “Big Broom”, the opener for their latest EP with the same name.
“Big Broom” sounds like a perfect soundtrack for a ‘Kill Bill’-like movie: it has a weird but perfectly mixed touch of Chinese traditional music, driven by a simple and catching bass line, surrounded with breathtaking vocal harmonies and guitar fills that seem inspired by a tranquilized Thurston Moore. It sounds like an impossible sound to achieve, but Races did it.
With only 2 years as an officially formed band and known back in the day as Black Jesus, Races looks like Arcade Fire’s talented little brother on-stage; a 7 piece (sometimes 8 piece, as shown on videos of their live performances) ensemble of talented musicians that can go from slow dance tunes (such as ‘All For You’) to beautiful written lyrics with vocal arrangements closely superb as Fleet Foxes’ finest (just listen to ‘Living Cruel & Rude’).
Wade Ryff, Garth Herberg, Devon Lee, Breanna Wood, Oliver Hild, Lucas Ventura and company have found a way to collide as a minimalistic, yet powerful, wall of sound. While adding their unique touch in the right time, each instrument used by the band works like roots supporting an otherwise complicated musical arrangement on every single song. One can’t help but wonder how they pull it off when they play live, finding the way to produce so many sounds at once while delivering such passion while performing. It’s hard to imagine such quality in a band that has yet to present their first full-length album, tentatively being released before 2011 ends, recorded and produced by themselves.
If Races keeps going this way, don’t be surprised to find them on many (if not all) of your playlists as soon their catalog grows larger. Quoting their song ‘Living Cruel & Rude’, “this doesn’t feel at all like me”. Normally, I don’t get too excited as I hear an emerging band’s first songs; which are usually poorly taped, lack originality and use simple songs structures. But I have a feeling that this band has the potential to be bigger and unquestionably better than the average.
Give them a chance: the race is on.
Written by Jorge A. López Mendicuti
Guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, law school graduate, amateur writer and music fan