Racecar makes me sad, especially when I was looking forward to some hard-rocking, emotional-fury. Racecar plays a brand of indie-rock that begins with “Out Tonight”. “Out Tonight” reels in listeners through fickle feelings that allow Nick, Alex, Jimmy and Rich to jump to the limits of alternative rock with the greatest of ease. The coaching of emotional fury in what would be some of the most sedate-sounding tracks (“George Washington”) is arguably Racecar’s strongest suit. The aforementioned track holds nothing to the Darkness-esque vocals achieved by Nick on “D is the New C”, which has Racecar achieving the same down-home rock of Hayden while mixing in ever-present synthesizer lines (a la Neil Young’s Trans) to seal the deal. Moving into a Nine Inch Nails-on-Paxil sound for “Trunk”, the sequenced-sounding drums on the track provide a perfect backdrop for Nick’s angst-ridden vocals.
Tracks like “Bill the Inanimate Object” really show me why people should care about this band; the track is Spartan and simplistic, being urged on by a repetitive drumbeat, but the guitar lines layered on above that are the bleeding-edge when it comes to conveying emotion. It becomes Rich’s time to shine during the martial-drum rolls that begin “The Overunder”; they are they only thing that is definite and clearly-defined in a land of echo and distortion. The inclusion of double-harmonies on the track provides the equivalent to the echo effect placed on the guitars and bind the track together to its inevitable conclusion soon after. The vacillating vocals present on “One of the Also Ran” dredge up similarities between Nick and Bob Dylan as well as the aforementioned Reznor. The nuanced synths on “Also Rans” provide the disc with a level of layering that imbue something like “10 Songs” with the highest of replay-values.
Coming through with an intensity of music that had not been found previously on “10 Songs”, “Longer Days” looks back to the Southern rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd while simultaneously maintaining the indie-rock relevancy that was cultivated through the entire disc, most skillfully couched in the extrapolation of indie values from what would normally be clichéd guitar riffs. The disc ends with “Lady”, and Racecar has put together a strong, if not difficult to dissect album that never sinks into the quagmire of mediocrity. The fact that this disc will hold up to repeated listenings also is a testament to the intelligence of the band, and should be a clarion call to pick up the album.
Top Tracks: Suburban Is A Dirty Word, The Overunder
Racecar – 10 Songs / 2004 Self-Released / 10 Tracks / http://www.racecarmusic.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 03 April 2005