Race Horses - Furniture
I'd like to start this review with celebratory remark for 2012 in general, and congratulate it in exceeding all expectations thus far. With the formalities out of the way, it's probably time to tell you how good Furniture by Race Horses really is, and why it's becoming incredibly hard to find flaws in music that doesn't need some music loving, frown-line strewed, self-entitled critic enjoying finding them.
Furniture is a very good album. The result is probably that it will cement in the mind's of those aware of the band that their early interest paid off, but probably won't win over swathes of new fans. That's not to say that their infectious UK alterna-pop isn't great, because it is, but this album sits alongside, a confusing swarm of other albums released this year, which although very good, will accrue little attention, which is a shame.
The album is distinctly cut into two parts, with the album's opening trio of 'Furniture', 'Mates', and 'Nobody's Son' jolly tunes, with keyboards laced with playful synths having jovial lyrics peppered over the top of them. Soon afterwards, however, Race Horses make a misstep in the form of 'Sisters', a track not too dissimilar from the opening three, but missing some of the sharp, textured sound that we'd so far been given. Following 'Sisters' is the droning 'What Am I To Do', which is by far the worst track on the album, and would be quick to disappoint those on their first run through of the album, as this song comes only two after the album's overall success story, 'Nobody's Son'.
However, we are offered a refrain in the form of 'World Six', a starry keyboard sounding bridge to our second half of the album, where we are offered the second side of the coin called Furniture, one which is certainly more downbeat, but more measured and comes with a satisfying conclusion. 'Bad Blood' focuses more on experimenting with shifting chords which allows a more varied vocal line to carry us through. 'My Year Abroad' is the lead single from the album, and most probably because it is here where the band's varied sounds all pull together and come crashing together with a chorus that harks sweaty, indoor venues, filled with kids trying their best to get into something you've never heard of, all thrashing into each other. 'See No Green' is a slight oddity, channeling the album's first half for the start, a pleasant yet sparse offering, before somehow alluding to Sam's Town era Killers for the song's close, which feels a little loose. Album closer 'Old and New' starts off well meaning, stripping away all the synth, bass, drums, leaving just the piano and vocals in place, but meanders on a little too long, but still manages to arrest attention on repeat listens.
Overall, Furniture is a solid album, and it would be a shame not to be aware of Race Horses. Perhaps their time for success isn't due right now, but it would be a dire shame if this band remains no more than a footnote in a forgotten coffee table book about the UK pop scene in 2012.