I can’t tell if “The Killer” is brilliant or just someone spitting out lyrics over a sludge-metal type of backdrop. This is a collection of Racebannon’s music from the last eight years, in order to gear people up for the upcoming fourth album. Immediately noticeable is the extreme length of a number of these tracks; hell, the first two tracks added together achieve nearly fifteen minutes on their own. This length would normally sink lesser bands, but Racebannon treads water throughout without falling into a non-creative rut. To be honest, the opening for “Heavy and Awkward” creates a harmony, a catchiness that the previous “The Killer” really did not have going for it.
The same sort of vocals walking to the beat of a different drummer effect happens again, but it is much less on that track. The almost rap-like delivery present on this track works really well, even if the instrumentation and overall style really wouldn’t be thought of as a good match. Each of the tracks on this “lost hits” compilation seems to elicit a different response from Racebannon. It is honestly like Christmas day, where one opens their presents and has no idea what is next. In this sense, the kids in Racebannon have a lot in common with Men’s Recovery Project, a similarity which is only exacerbated through the rock/metal basis in which much of the instrumentation is steeped. In the midst of tracks that only a mother could love, there are bizarrely radio-friendly gems like “Funny, She Doesn’t Look French”. “Funny” even has a second set of vocals that emulates the style of Jello Biafra’s familiar exhortation “Nazi punks fuck off”. Much in the same way,
“Oh the Guilt” ties together an infectious vocal rhythm that trails off into an atmospheric, almost industrial type of ending (which goes on for a substantial portion of the tracks barely over two-minute runtime. “Jesus Has A…” solidifies this routine for Racebannon; create something that will draw the listeners in and categorically push them away after the band has done what they want with them. For example, the Nirvana-like hooks of “Jesus Has A…” rapidly degenerate into each member of the band falling out of a cohesive sound and going off into their own direction. Always up for creating challenging music, Racebannon simultaneously work within the pop ideal and try to break it down at every turn.
Top Tracks: The Killer, Johnny Jet Blast Off
Racebannon – The Turntable: Singles and Rarities (1997-2005) / 2005 Alone / 28 Tracks / http://www.racebannon.net / http://www.alonerecords.com / Reviewed 17 November 2005