Tuesday 12 May 2015

Album Review

"The Race forSpace" by Public Service Broadcasting 

Some scenarios play themselves out time and time again in my life: Inanimate objects waiting until I need them before they break. The endless cycle of wanting something, getting something and then wanting something else. The feeling that you are just about to crest a hill and the realisation that there was a little bit more hill hidden over the horizon (this happens in my work, in my playing, in every new skill that I try to master, as well as in walking up hill).

Even more frequent and unavoidable (and this is a story as old as time and as ubiquitous as death) is hearing a couple of good songs on the radio and then not liking the album.

Public Service Broadcasting is a two-piece London band where neither member can sing. They play drums and electric guitar (or banjo or just about anything with strings) and use samples from public information films, propaganda and old radio programmes as well as all kinds of electronic sounds.

The album "Race for Space" tells the story of the space race in the 50s and 60s using samples from JFK's "we choose to go to the moon", contemporary radio broadcasts, NASA radio traffic, and control room recordings. It sounds great, all the samples are interesting and some of it is genuinely moving. The musicianship, particularly the drumming, is wonderful. The recording of the drum kit is flawless - it actually sounds like a drum kit being played well in a fairly open room. The two singles "Gagarin" and "Go" are spectacular. Genuinely good songs with compelling riffs and beats, inventive, interesting and different. I thought I had stumbled onto this decade's Kasabian and awaited the album with rapt anticipation. The singles are only two "rock" songs on the album, the rest is ambient or atmospheric. Perhaps the other songs are just as excellent and I don't have the right education, background or pharmaceuticals to appreciate them. What I can say is that they hold very little interest for me, and it isn't my new favourite album.

Richard "Gambaccini" B

1 comment:

  1. I had a similar experience when I thought I had discovered my new favorite garage/punk band. I heard a really good, stripped down, up-tempo, live version of Richie Valens' Come on lets go on the radio. The band was called the McCoys but sadly it turned out they had already split up..............in 1969
    Doug "damn you eclectic radio" B