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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Race
The Perfect Gift
Flameshovel Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
We turn to friends for calming words of advice, doctors to supply us with medication, web sites for a distraction from the daily grind, but when I have hit rock bottom, sometimes the only thing that can ease the pain is a good song.

I seek solace in music. Some people choose to eat, exercise, smoke, or indulge in numerous other poisons. All I have ever needed is a healthy dose of ear candy to get my mind off of life's laundry list of problems. On The Perfect Gift, The Race serve up a smooth swig of quiet, seductive, and potent intoxication. At times The Perfect Gift shines like, dare I say... em... uh…. ah…. a minimalistic OK Computer - and at that you may let your skepticism fly, but it is true - and this comparison is specifically evident on the album's title track as Craig Klein bashfully groans over an acoustic backdrop.

The press sheet says "with a subversive sense of pop", and such a sentiment I could not agree with more. Pop music is a tough thing to define and although you won't find selections from The Perfect Gift sandwiched between Avril and Eminem on TRL, it has that bold quality to it. The Race do a great job of keeping it fresh and, with experienced poly-rhythms on "Not Like Riding a Bike", this album fails to let go. Slowing down to a drunken stupor, only to up the anti to a comfortable chaos, I sense these boys were skilled in the math rock roots back in the day. Although the mathematics are not clearly advertised on The Perfect Gift, they exist within, and perhaps the most stunning trait of this Chicago-by-way-of-Iowa band is their ability to build up a rhythm or feeling to the point of no return. Just when you expect the cymbals to crash and guitars to crank, The Race let you down comfortably.

This is a quality record, and it's a shame that their previously recorded effort Chicago Ruins Everything never really saw the light of day, sentenced to exile in obscurity at the hands of a defunct and dysfunctional Swey Record Company. But The Race push on with a new album and a new label, and they clearly have a good idea of what they want to do and the execution on follow-through. With a calming sound and the writing to back it up, I look forward to more perfect gifts from The Race.

Reviewed by Justin Grimm
A contributing writer for LAS, JG used to live in Bloomington, Illinois, and played guitar in a band called North By Northwest. Word on the street is that he now lives in Chicago and, (much to the ladies\' delight or dismay, depending on how you look at it) he has been procreating. To find Justin, just google \"juice454\" and something, like what he\'s been listening to, will pop up.

See other reviews by Justin Grimm

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