The Race

If You Can

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The first thing that will strike you about the Race is how much lead singer Craig Klein sounds like one Thom Yorke of Radiohead. In fact, so striking is their vocal resemblance that the entire weight of a Radiohead comparison rest on the threesome's shoulders. Not an easy burden to bear. However, the group does quite well for themselves, at times sounding the way you might have imagined Radiohead would have had their Aphex Twin obsession not completely overwhelmed their sound for a minute, or if Jonny Greenwood were not such a musical virtuoso. Don't let the impassive Kid A comparisons get to you. Sure, If You Can clocks in at under 30 minutes, and the typical verse-chorus song structure is abandoned for a series a lulls and crescendos that move at their own fluid pace, rather than following the obligatory path. But the production by "electronic" favored child Charles Cooper of Telefon Tel Aviv moves in the opposite direction of Yorke and company, an electro-acoustic master moving to the right in working with a real band (as opposed to a traditional band moving to the left to engage with electronics). When it works, as on the opener "If You Can," or previously released single "Rose," it's like walking in on your favorite part of your favorite song. But more often than not, it's more like listening to less epic moments of a sonic path that has proven its ability to be epic, despite avoiding the usual clich├ęs, by musicians with far more blessed talents. It is unfortunate that this review has begun to feel more like a Radiohead write-up than a Race write-up. But there's a reason why Radiohead is Radiohead and the rest fit neatly below.

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