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Red Rum Club - 'Matador' Album Review


1. Angeline

2. Would You Rather Be Lonely?

3. Hung Up

4. TV Said So

5. Honey

6. Nobody Gets Out Alive

7. Calexico

8. Casanova

9. Remedy (To Clean A Dirty Soul)

10 Matador

Red Rum Club are a sextet from Liverpool, who combine rich Indie sounds with Spaghetti Western horns which delivers an original sound that is also reassuringly familiar. This debut album should make sure that they stand out from the crowd.

An album that starts with horse hoofs and a delectable slice of horn cannot be too bad, and that is exactly how 'Angeline' starts. Fran Doran's rich vocals are reminiscent of Ian McCulloch from Echo And The Bunnymen. The opener is a statement of intent, full of cinematic warmth and western influences. You could imagine Clint Eastwood riding off into the sunset as the credits roll to find his Angeline. 'Would You Rather Be Lonely?' seems to follow on with the whole Western vibe, with the 'Hoo Hars' to begin with. Whilst the same exquisite horn is present, this is a far softer and melodic track, verging on sentimental. The instrumentation is slick and the harmonies are spot on. This is a nice contrast with the opening track. This is the track that I found myself humming and singing all the following day. 'Hung Up' is a quirky little number, the lyrics intertwine with the trumpet as the bassline and percussion gallop along setting a really catchy tempo. 'TV Said So' is more recognisably Indie number with Fran's lyrics being delivered with confidence. This is a real sing along song with catchy lyrics and catchy hooks and 60's guitar riffs.

'Honey' returns us to the Western theme with blazing horns and 'Honey' being belted out. The guitar riff has vibrato and there is even a background hint of Electronica on the keyboards. It is the faintest hint, but it was there none the less. This is a track that is more than a little schizophrenic, or at the very least it has several personalities vying for prominence. I liked it. 'Nobody Gets Out Alive' is my kind of song. It is another quirky song, with lyrics that are full of humour, that proves that Red Rum Club are not taking their swagger too seriously. It starts simply and subtly enough but builds into another rich wall of sound, which just sucks you in. The rhythms in 'Calexico' are sublime. This track is full of catchy hooks matched with that old galloping tempo. The chorus is well crafted and for the second time there is a run down the fretboard from the guitars which gives just a hint of Flamenco. 'Casanova' starts with more 'Hoo Hars' and continues with the flamenco vibe. There is more than a touch of the Tarrentino's about the instrumentation on this track, and it would not be out of place as part of a film score.

'Remedy (To Clean A Dirty Soul)' has a wicked bass line and starts with a strafing electronic keyboard. The lyrics are clever, and catchy. The album closes with the title track 'Matador' which again is catchy and has all the ingredients of a Red Rum Club song.

The musical influences in this debut album are diverse but complimentary. The songs are all well constructed, with hooks in the instrumentation and the lyrics. It is well crafted throughout with the choruses and melodies that work perfectly all with the trumpet adding real bite. The use of the trumpet and the Spaghetti western soundscape intertwined with rich Indie lyrics and subject matter do not seem like a gimmick, but are Red Rum Club's trademark. Fran Doran delivers the vocals with real panache and confidence. It has to be said that the production is also extremely good. The album is as clear as a bell and the instrumentation is clear and consistent.

Sometimes 'original sound' means too quirky to be catchy, but this self assured debut album, grabs you by the hand, and invites you along for the ride. Each track is a banger, quite literally and wraps you in its soundscape. This album is Good, there is no Bad or Ugly, Ennio Morricone meets Echo and the Bunnymen should not work, but by Django it does. If you have heard one of Red Rum Clubs songs and like it, then get this album, you will not be disappointed. If you have never heard of Red Rum Club, then get this album, you will not be disappointed.

Matador is released on 11th January via Modern Sky Records.

Review - Tony Creek

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