Let’s face it; there isn’t exactly a dearth of great Welsh music about nowadays. Is that because Welsh isn’t the most musical of languages? Or is it because most new alternative bands who come from there are eventually crushed by the weight of being tagged the ‘next Supper Furries’? Maybe, maybe not, but neither of these are a factor when it comes to Race Horses. While the foursome from Aberystwyth certainly wear their influences on their collective sleeve, there is nothing overtly derivative on their debut LP.
Goodbye Falkenburg is an album which busily snaps between different musical styles, peppered with nods and winks towards The Beatles, countrymen Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and even traces of the the swashbuckling, spaghetti western of Ennio Morricone. A lot of bands have done this sort of thing before but crucially there is never a forced overemphasis on it, ensuring that you actually hear Race Horses here and not some counterfeit pastiche of their favourite bands.
Album opener -Man In My Mind’ is about as psychedelic a song as you can expect to hear from a new Welsh band this year, bristling with complicated vocal patterns and teasing build-ups but it’s with the next track where you get to fully witness their true potential. -Cake’ is an absurdly catchy song and the clear highlight of Goodbye Falkenburg‘, concisely demonstrating the abundant flair that Meilyr Jones has for songwriting and arranging. So far so good, but as time goes on and you hit the midpoint of the album you realise that two or three of these tracks are nothing more than blatant filler.
Thankfully this lull doesn’t last too long before you’re jolted back to attention. -Scooter’ would be equally at home on a 60’s Garage compilation album as it is here and -Captain Penelope Smith’, in all its Sgt. Peppers-lite majesty, is a tuneful sea shanty and another of the stand-out tracks. -Marged Wedi Blino’ closes Goodbye Falkenburg with a sound that by now you will have come to associate with Race Horses. It’s foot-tappingly catchy and contains a multitude of different tempos and vocal layers ensuring that, even if this isn’t exactly your thing, you definitely won’t be bored. It’s probably fair to say that Race Horses sound like a lot of different bands. But do many other bands sound like Race Horses? That’s the real question.