ALBUM REVIEW: Red Racer ‘Define’


When recording a debut album it helps to tick a few boxes up front:


Get Josh Hommes’ mate and lead singer of Eagles of Death Metal to produce it… Tick.

Record it in an uber-cool musical Mecca in California… Tick.

Get members of QOTSA to appear on the album… Tick.


While this may well be an astute move and will produce some useful attention, the music very much speaks for itself.

London three piece Red Racer have delivered an accomplished and energetic album which draws its influence from numerous classic rock bands, and they have cleverly produced an album that sounds both contemporary and familiar. Already picking up useful press in the specialist media and on XFM, this could well be the material that will become very familiar with on the festival scene in 2015; The impression is that this would work well when translated to the live arena, as the music is deep in texture with strong hook lines. 

The band have been round the block a bit including encounters and dalliances with Reef, Futureheads and Tom McRea, and this may be why this doesn’t quite sound like a debut album, but one that has been made by slightly more canny musicians.

Opening track ‘Define’ leaves the listener under no circumstance that this is going to be a pretty raucous journey as it delivers a punk vocal with an interesting change of pace in the middle. It’s not breaking any moulds, true, but when rock music is done well, fans of this genre indefatigably take notice. 

As the album moves through the gears you experience a multitude of styles including the sleazy guitar rock of ‘Shotgun Suzy’ that must have felt so at home at the Joshua Tree Studio, and the Britpop tinged ‘Pretty Polly’. It’s a pleasant surprise to see an album that has been constructed as an album rather than ten individual efforts for the disposable music generation.

Song writing credits are shared among the band and they prove themselves to be very capable lyricists as well as performers on the single ‘Put It Out’, which is a great balance of power and tunefulness. While ‘Cover Me’ shamelessly walks the listener through the ’60s, ’70s and ’90s rock scenes it manages to somehow sound new and interesting 

‘Sepiente’ is the only time during this impressive demonstration of countless rock styles and techniques that it gets a bit self indulgent and pastiche because the rest of the album is a thoughtful and technical collection of songs.

There is naturally a worry that while the amount of ground covered in ten songs is admirable, does it show a band not yet sure on what direction to take their talent?  One hopes that this is not a problem for a band capable of some memorable rock songs and who should have a good twelve months ahead of them.

And I got through a 500 word Red Racer review without mentioning Fearne Cotton… Dammit!

James Van Praag


James Van Praag

James Van Praag

Midlands music lover and frustrated journo. Loves gigs, new music and writing about it. Shamelessly addicted to B&S, MSP and pistachios @Jamesvp75
James Van Praag

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