Wouldn’t it be cool if Queens Of The Stone Age collaborated with ASIWYFA? And what if it was produced by Matt Bellamy? That sounds positively beastly, doesn’t it? Could it ever happen? Probably not. But you know what, it doesn’t need to as such a combination was under our noses all along. Galway’s Race The Flux have been making a name for themselves on the live circuit for some time. Yet, translating the live experience on to record has been a stumbling block for some bands, so the big question is whether Race The Flux have pulled it off.
Certainly the raw components are there. Joe Padfield has a powerful voice that is like a rallying call. Drummer, Ronan Connaughton, delivers complex drum rhythms as if pummeling a whack-a-mole game. A drummer in demand, he also is the stick man for fellow west Ireland rockers Ka Tet and We Town Criers.
Utilising chunky synth, dramatic post rock peaks and innovative playing, the songs vary from electronic to post rock to prog rock. Covering such genres could make such a wild collection of songs appear disjointed, but the sequencing of the songs is spot on. The electronic vocodered Evolve? leads into the earth-shaking I Am Animation. The latter is a complex post rock chameleon of a song. It shifts and changes direction, gaining momentum along the way.
It also provides a teaser of the hurricane of a voice Padfield posseses but it’s not until Eleven, that it’s fully unleashed. As Eleven hurtles along with an ever-increasing sense of urgency, Padfield bellows out a chorus “Run while you can, there can be no smoke without fire” that has monster-battling-giant-robot epic written all over it. The opening crunching guitar riffs of Can I? suggests it could be a formulaic guitar rock song, but as the song moves through its seven and a half minutes it crosses genres banishing that original thought from your mind.
More digitised vocals fill the verses of Icarus as it harks at the progressive rock of Muse before they became a parody of themselves, while Siren’s riffs and bassline are certainly on the heavier side. By and large Race The Flux have captured that excitement which flues their live shows. The one exception on the album is Julian which is a bit too safe and sanitized. Race The Flux are not constrained by sticking within any single boundary and that freedom to explore has resulted in ‘Dutch Buffalo’ an album that is set to launch them into the mainstream.