Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Racket

Hailing from Bulkley Valley, BC, The Racket formed with the goal of making music that will get your feet moving. Having such a dynamic sound that will get festival crowds dancing as well as losing yourself deep in thought in an intimate coffee shop setting. With their newest self-titled release they aim to push their sound all across the world for new fans to listen to.

The album opens up with "Drunk", already you can hear the musicianship just flow through you giving you chills. The track opens up with a lone guitar palm muting while the vocals come and join. I'm already transported to a concert at the Commodore Ballroom or even Rodgers Arena. Hints of bass start seeping in until finally the reveal of the full band as they enter with this thick groove that gets your head bobbing. The vocal line is already so catchy that I'll be humming it long after this review. Once the main chorus hits your hooked, this is your new favorite band as waves of pure talent sweep over you. You keep thinking no way this opening track can not get any more epic, but then surely it moves on to the next part and outdoes it self. If this is a sample of what to come, then I am very excited!

The next track "Everybody Knows" picks up right where the last track leaves off. Giving you more of a pop indie feel right off the bat. Then suddenly a female vocal joins in out of no way, twinning the already doubled main vocal. Both so tight on their phrases that it almost sounds like they were machines. Every time you expect the vocals to do something predictable, they take your expectations and throw them out the window! The drums are so fantastic about adding the little rhythmic ear candies for you to hear. The thick bass covers the low end so well adding so much dynamics and drama that you barely notice your feet tapping without you even thinking about it. The final groove section hammers that guitar riff into your head and I could see in a live setting, just jamming on that riff letting the crowd dance away until finally ending it with the final vocal phrase "Everybody Knows". Perfection.

"Fortune" starts off with such a bluesy riff that you know this track will just be covered in swagger. This shows how cool these cats are by their ability to rock such a common groove in their own way. Then all of a sudden voices of angels change things up, some fantastic harmonies bring back the theatrics element that I am growing to love with this album. All before busting back into that thick bluesy groove established at the beginning. Being one of the shorter tracks of the album its over before you know it, but that just means you want to click back on your phone and hear it again!

"Underwater" is a track all about tension. Already right from the start, the guitar seems rushed, not badly, but just pushing the beat, creating his own sense of tension. Then when the vocals come in, tight short phrases start getting your blood pressure rising. The drums have this great shuffle going that fits so perfectly. The dramatic breaks are fantastic, letting the vocals sing out. Such vocal control and allowing all the emotion to just burst out. This track really shows a whole other side to this band. Showing the tenacity as a band and talent for such word play from the singer. The whole song just paints a beautiful yet dark picture. Near the end I kept hearing some organ in the track in my head, but that's just the producer in me speaking.

As I said in the beginning, this band prides themselves on the ability to adapt to all venues. "This Train" is one of those tracks, could be perfectly suited for a coffee shop with an acoustic, microphone and a cal-hone. Or it could be on a huge arena stage sounding like Mumford and Sons but just a three piece. Once again, the musicianship is just masterful and allows the lyrics to just sing this beautiful message straight into our brains. This album is more than just music, its an experience. Each track bringing something new.

"Spanish Dancer", number 6 on their album brings things up again. Lets get those feet moving again! The bubbly uplifting bass and drums really make your heart rise. The chorus allows the vocalist to shine again just before it jumps back into the bubbly happy groove. This track is just an all around feel good track. Happy scratchy guitar, thick bouncing bass and light grooving drums all tied together with some fantastic vocals.

Now being more than halfway done the album, "Flow"enters the mix and brings us to a very whimsical land. Some space filled guitar and deep thinking vocals swarm all around you. A nice thick acoustic guitar sits back behind the mix as well. Having a very jazzy feel to the track makes it stand out on its own. I wish the vocals had a little more depth to them, a bit more reverb or effects so that they also sat in the more spaced out feel rather than be completely up front. They sound great, specially when the bass finally joins near the end of the track. Playing around with different grooves really carries on the jazzy feel to this entire track as it keeps your head bobbing but always unsure of what is coming.

"Chapel" starts with one of my favorite chord progressions but with a few twists on it. Once again a scratchy guitar riff lays down the fundamental groovy feel while the bass and drums come in and add almost a disco feel to the track. I had wished there would be some delay on the lead vocals allowing them to also add to the groove. But as the track progresses, it becomes apparent that this is a guitar heavy track that sounds like a blast to perform live with some great instrumental parts. Really allowing the guitar to breathe and showcase all of its hard work.

"The Ballad Of Micky Flinn" introduces a whole new sound. A piano and organ giving this track a dark jazzy blues feel to the track. The super thick organ lays down some serious grooves as we get a bouncy piano on top adding even more bounce to the track. All the instruments though just set the stage for the lyrics. A tale of Micky Flinn, I won't say anymore than that!

"Petty Crimes" is a fast paced folk track. A fantastic accordion keeps your toes tapping. Reminding me of the track "Rasputin". This one would be a blast to do some swing dancing too! Once again I could see getting a whole crowd of music festival goers  dancing away! Production wise it seems more like a fill track than anything. Stacking this track next to some of the earlier tracks it sounds more like an idea than a fully flushed out track. The drums sound more in the background than other tracks. But I love the idea of seeing an accordion up on stage!

"Ball of Evil" almost has a Vogville old school kind of feel, some fantastic writing though. At times reminds me of a couple Jonas Brothers track actually. It has a very Disney feel or musical. Like its a feature piece in a film. It even has a "dance break" where the piano lays down some fantastic licks but I could see two main characters doing some tap style dancing. The ending of the track has this all too catchy chant which will have you singing it for days!

The final track "Build Your Tower High" finishes the album off on a upbeat inspirational note. This great folk tune brings all the theatrical and dynamic pieces from before added with some stellar lyrics really sums up this album. The whole album took you on this roller coaster of a ride but ends with this beautiful message of hope and beauty. I could hear on the radio TODAY and be a huge hit. This is a great cross between folk, country and pop that is both catchy but progressive. Truly a great finish to a fantastic record.

To learn more about "The Racket" vist their Facebook page and links below:

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