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Race Horses: Goodbye Falkenburg. New album out now!

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 16:58 UK time, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Determination is a wonderful thing, and you'll find no less a determined bunch than the band Race Horses, made up of members Meilyr Jones, Alun Gaffey, Dylan Hughes and Gwion Llewelyn.

Despite line up changes, years and years of performing, and travelling from the four corners of Wales to various gigs, in the last few months they really have flowered as a band and blossomed with newly-released album Goodbye Falkenburg.

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Dylan and Meilyr have been performing together from school days in Aberystwyth, and as Radio Luxembourg reached heady heights of success in Wales with sold out gigs, and headlining events like the National Eisteddfod, but these days, while touring with cutting edge British bands like Fanfarlo, and playlisted on BBC 6 Music, they are also finally getting some wider recognition.

Goodbye Falkenburg follows on from the Man In My Mind EP, which was released on Fantastic Plastic in December. It was recorded over a nine-month period with enigmatic producer David Wrench (a member of Julian Cope's Black Sheep, producer for Euros Childs and engineer for Bat For Lashes, James Yorkston, British Sea Power and Hot Chip).

Conceived as a collage of someone's life memories and taking a loose nautical theme, it's as ambitious in sound and thought as you'd expect from Race Horses. "We wanted to make our fifth album first," says Meilyr.  

For years they've been unfairly compared to the psychedelic flavours and sounds of Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and although you can understand the comparisons in the past, now in the light of an album of material, Race Horses have built their own world that's truly unique, imaginative, bombastic and slightly crazy - the way bands should be, don't you agree?

The band spoke about the album track by track on Adam Walton's BBC Radio Wales show last Sunday, and also recorded an exclusive session in Maida Vale for Huw Stephens, so rather than interview the band again, I'm nicking some of the latter interview for this blog, but do go and listen again to both shows mentioned above to get the full impact of the music.

race-horses_03_446.jpgMeilyr was telling Huw about how it felt for the band week of release:

"Yes, it is exciting, because we finished the album a bit ago, and its nice to have it out and see what people think of it, see what tracks people like and have the artwork finished - which is lots of stuffed animals and food!

About their gigs:

"We've got a tour coming up with Fanfarlo in February,  and we just did some gigs with Laurence Arabia, which was great and another show with Fools Gold, and we've another tour to follow in March!"

About recording the album around Wales:

"We recorded some in Aberystwyth, then lots in North Wales and South Wales. We travelled around and stopped off and recorded in different studios it was quite an adventure. We always have grand plans of sorting it out, but when it comes to it, something goes wrong, and we end up recording in a strange place.

"For example, there's a charming section of the album where the band are in a gig, and you can hear the compère discuss whether Race Horses should come back on to the stage or if the audience are ready for the blues band to follow!"

About song titles, eg Isle of You, Intergalactic Space Rebellion, Glo ac Oren:

"It starts off with chords, then melodies, then words make it into something more tangible maybe, and a story develops around the music and then we arrange it. But it is always different, some things come from jams."

About the National Eisteddfod gig:

"We thought, because we knew there was going to be lots of people there, we did five days of rehearsals, and started with no ideas at all, and thought it would be cool to do something completely new for a one-off gig and never do it again, so we had completely different instruments, did-12 hour days of writing and rehearsing, and did it in a 25-minute medley of these ideas at the start of the Eisteddfod set. That was really good fun!"

To see video footage of the Maida Vale session head to bbc.co.uk/radio1/huwstephens

Race Horses online: racehorsesmusic.com and myspace.com/racehorsesmusic




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