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Race Horses Goodbye Falkenberg Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

They harness a freewheeling spirit in a bid to escape seaside-town ennui.

Mike Haydock 2010

Race Horses are Welsh. They sing some songs in English, and others in their native tongue. They make a tuneful indie-pop sound with considerable psychedelic influences. So you’re going to have to forgive us for comparing them to Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. It’s not lazy; it’s the truth. They have clearly been influenced by their countrymen.

Fortunately, though, Race Horses take the Gorky’s influence and run miles with it, showboating through psychedelia, sea shanties, folk, post-rock, electronica and pop to create a captivating debut full of songs that have been repeatedly bent out of shape.

Singer Meilyr Jones has a Beatles haircut and that band’s way with melody – his fey vocal floats along, picking out breezy tunes. He sounds like Pete Doherty with a Welsh accent and a mischievous sparkle in his eyes. And it’s the melodies that hold the album’s fragmented segments together, the melodies that stick in the mind, and the melodies that make Race Horses a real pleasure to listen to. Without them, they’d still sound clever, but with them they sound charming too.

The playfulness of the music, which jumps daintily between styles almost at random, also carries through into the lyrics, from Cake’s tale of shunning sex for baking – “We love baking all night long, we share our love with everyone” – to the opening salvo of Scooter: “You really p***** me off, I might just shoot your daughter.” And the album is named after Falkenberg, a German sailor who – so the legend goes – died at sea and returns to shore once a century to find a bride.

Like The Coral, Race Horses have harnessed a freewheeling spirit in a bid to escape seaside-town ennui, and the music they make will easily get you smiling and singing along. But The Coral rapidly went spiralling out of control – the true test for Race Horses will be in the longer term, when their wonderful music has transported them beyond Aberystwyth. For now, they are one of the most promising bands in the UK.

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