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Askew Review 15

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TEN SPEED RACER- Eskimo Beach Boy (Catapult Records)- Every once in a while you run across something that reminds you that Dublin has produced some of the most important music of each decade (U2 in the 80s, My Bloody Valentine in the 90s). While I'm not going to suggest Ten Speed Racer is Dublin's answer for the present decade, they are substantially different from the current crop of American and British indies to be worth a listen. "Car Crash" starts out the album with an infectious verse and an evocative chorus. Similar to Radiohead or Blur, but with a particular regionalism that keeps the music just one step ahead of being pinned down--this track really stands out. The songs that follow don't have as powerful of an impact, "January" and "Knife" being folk-tinged fluff pieces, the title track banging along with little development or intensity, and "Sidewalk Monkey Typhoid" sedating you into wondering where you've been for the last 5 minutes of listening. "Hang On Starlight" is a little repetitive but what it lacks in lyrical creativity, it makes up for with a great synth melody a decent arrangement which floods over into the mildly psychedelic "Lunar Junkies." Next come their two big UK singles. These are interesting in how different they are from each other. "The Ballad of Greedy Man" seems like it would best be played on an adult contemporary station; while "Death to Disco" brings to mind David Bowie playing with the Leaving Trains. The final track is a near 10-minute epic, lacking anything of real interest except for an almost imperceptible change of texture across time. While the more "subtle" pieces are quickly forgotten, Ten Speed Racer has some great moments on this disc.-Ryan McKay

 

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