Race Horses – Furniture

Written for The Music Fix.

When Race Horses emerged, fresh faced, from Aberystwyth a couple of years ago they seemed readymade to fill the spiritual void left by the split of treasured psych-folk predecessors Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Endorsed by Gorky’s frontman Euros Childs, their bilingual debut was as refreshing to hear as it was eccentric, unpretentiously hopping between energetic vocal riffs and trumpet fanfares. To a point, it’s a shame that their second LP marks such a direct step away from the weirdness.

The most obvious common thread from 2010 to now is provided by Meilyr Jones’ vocals, which still move between joy and melancholy with the same falsetto purity, even if his lyrics can be a touch more world-weary than before. More broadly, the intervening couple of years have seen the band edge away from the Welsh fringe and towards the indie mainstream. Among other cases, ‘Sisters’ carries hints of early Pulp, while ‘See No Green’ opens with a rhythmic a cappella akin to The Futureheads’.

Despite the obviously less distinctive sound of their new material, there’s still room for quirks of arrangement, with early highlight ‘Mates’ led by syncopated staccato vocals and interlude ‘World 6’ escaping the conventional band structure altogether. Race Horses haven’t suffered from any great loss of charm, so – much shorter and more cohesive than their debut – Furniture offers lots of comfortable enjoyment.

7/10

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