Furniture by Race Horses (Album)

30 August, 2012 in Music Reviews

Racehorses

Pic: Rebecca Miller

Legendary pop lineage joins the spirit of melancholic youth, as Race Horses dodge the sophomore slump with a future classic

Race Horses Furnitureace Horses are the latest example of a Welsh band who’ve taken a frustrating and uneventful youth and used it to create perfect pop music. Growing up in Aberystwyth,“teenagers weren’t shagging and taking drugs,“ singer Meilyr Jones reminisces, “they were listening to their Dad’s record collections”. The holiday town’s lack of nightlife meant the band was instead forced to listen studiously to some of the finest names on pop’s landscape. They reference Queen, Dexy‘s Midnight Runners and Michael Jackson, with those influences all present on Furniture.

The first half of the album is packed with big tunes and the sort of inventive, multi-instrumental music that can’t help but draw comparison with Welsh pioneers Super Furry Animals. And it’s no surprise that they’re produced by another key player in the Welsh music scene, Euros Childs of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

Mates uses vocal harmonies as percussive melodies and then storms into a chorus that brings to mind Maximo Park. On Nobody’s Sun, 80s electro akin to Soft Cell is peppered with McCartney-esque piano and filled with a vast array of sounds in-between. Next on Sisters, they chisel out three and a half minutes of glorious, sunny, indie-pop.

“an honest and impassioned sound with big, bounding choruses”

The band succeeds in crafting an honest and impassioned sound with big, bounding choruses and a strong vocal performance. Pausing for an electronic interlude called World 6, the second half of the album then delivers much of the same excellence. This is perhaps best found on lead single My Year Abroad, which takes off beautifully and finishes in an exhilarating crescendo.

The album closes with the piano-led Old And New; affecting and stripped-down before being led out by unearthly guitar noises and inverted orchestration.

Lyrically, Furniture represents the constant figures in our lives and the threat of over-familiarity. Themes of friendship, relationships and the passage they take are thereby central. It only adds to the album’s spirit of melancholic youth, which, when coupled with the legendary lineage of pop that inspires the work of this album, gives Furniture the feel of a timeless classic.

Verdict: A classic for the here and now

Matt Nicholson