Sunday, May 6, 2012

Races Celebrates The Year of the Witch

The odd thing about the band Races and the first thing you notice upon listening to them is that they don't seem to be much in a hurry to get anywhere. This Los Angeles sextet (yep...six members) creates pop that's slow going, dramatic, and ultimately uplifting. Their album Year of the Witch is firmly in touch with its inner Coldplay and Flaming Lips and its songs are so gigantic that they could potentially fill a stadium. These guys know what it means to write a big song and they're not afraid to show it.

While Year of the Witch is ridiculously huge in its aspirations it still has a foot in the weird and wacky world of psychedelic pop and when it's not reaching for the stars it tends to be reaching for something else that may or may not be headed for the outer reaches of the galaxy. Just weird enough and just noisy enough to make things interesting Races write songs that come in at a skewed angle but still, thanks to a keen pop sensibility, are good enough for you to never forget. These guys make strange seem dramatic and exotic and in the end that's half of Races charm; their quirkiness and ability to pull it all together.

Optimism seems to be another quality this band has oodles of. Even at it's slowest and potentially most depressing (see "Living Cruel & Rude") the band still has enough hope left to pick itself up and get on with it. It's impressive and allows the band to make things even more dramatic and sweeping while keep all the other qualities in check. As a result of all this Year of the Witch is an intriguing and emotional rollercoaster that's fairly introspective but resides just outside of the norm.

From weird guitar sounds, ghostlike choruses, chirpy organs, and detached vocals it all seems a bit odd but when you listen to it repeatedly the pieces fall into place. Year of the Witch is a spooky record that has enough oddities, quirks, and strange things that set it apart but they work alongside the bands undeniable ability to write a good pop song. Races might not be in a hurry but the journey they're on is by far one of the more fascinating one's you're likely to hear or experience.

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