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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
City Lights
Skrocki Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 1, 2004

A brief chord and the squeal of feedback and I'm off, as Racetrack's City Lights smatters itself about in my eardrums; I'm whisked away to better times. I remember a time when music didn't have to be new or original to be enjoyable, complex or inaccessible to hold my interest - when being part of the musical elite involved a full collection of punk rock and some patches on my jacket. Racetrack manages to capture some of the joyful simplicity of my earlier tastes, and does so consistently throughout their first full length.

I'm in the passenger seat of my friend's shitty Ford Probe, the sun roof is cracked and the windows are down. I'm trying to fight back the air as my hand wavers outside the window - blooming from fist to outstretched, my fingers seemingly built to feel the wind trickle along my knuckles, wondering what would happen we swerved too close to a sign, and the consequences of having one arm due to poor judgment… and even worse, driving. It's tapes stacked in shoe boxes in the back seat, then CDs in 200 case holders on the dash - it's upbeat, ska, punk; it's music for driving, for singing along, for summer break and the absence of responsibility.

City Lights is roughly 40 minutes of fuzzy pop rock, squelching and coarse, melodic and upbeat, and most of the time, simple and fun. Singer Meghan Kessinger's voice rarely wavers in its aural frequency, maximizing melodious monotone, leading me to believe she has a relatively pleasant speaking tone, and drummer Jackson Long and bassist Chris Rasmussen offer contrast with dual backing vocals, and the mid 90s seem closer than ever.

Racetrack's strengths lie decidedly in utilizing the wheel rather than reinventing it. The song topics are personal in nature, relationships and reminiscing, and the structure straightforward, but catchy. Whether Racetrack's City Lights is imbued with nostalgia, or whether I'm merely displacing emotion isn't important, rather, the fact they've managed to enhance my mood, if only for a moment, is.

Reviewed by David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other reviews by David Spain



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