Alamo Race Track
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Alamo Race Track

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE
Band Folk Alternative


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Birds At Home (2003)
Black Cat John Brown (2006)
Unicorn Loves Deer (2011)



Formed in Amsterdam in 2001 when the band, then called Redivider, lost their keyboard player but decided to change their name and carry on, Alamo Race Track have already developed a devoted following in Europe and beyond. They are veterans of several major international music festivals, have appeared on numerous French television shows, and garnered glowing reviews in the Dutch press.??ART experienced their biggest break in 2006, when a lively dressing-room performance of their then-current single, "Black Cat John Brown," wound its away onto the popular video website YouTube. Within weeks, nearly 200,000 people had viewed the clip, thus sparking a wave of Dutch media exposure that carried through to the band's sophomore release.

Sharing the same title as its hit single, Black Cat John Brown was released in October
2006 and quickly became a fixture on the Netherlands' alternative music charts. Widespread touring followed, including a stint with the Arctic Monkeys, an appearance at 2007's SXSW festival, De Nachten in Belgium and a three week Tour de France. It was in Paris that now renowned film maker Vincent Moon spotted the band and made an unforgettable two part video for La Blogotheque, adding ART to the ranks of The National, Wilco, Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, R.E.M. and Bon Iver.

Later, when "Black Cat John Brown" was picked for inclusion in the TV series Grey's Anatomy (whose viewership totaled 19 million Americans in 2006), American label Minty Fresh took notice and released the album stateside in July 2007. ART received a warm welcome in the US press and at festivals such as CMJ.

Alamo Race Track’s new long player, "Unicorn Loves Deer" is the culmination of a challenging and adventurous 2010- 11. As well as knocking out their third LP, the band have negotiated their way through personnel changes and the considerable challenge of writing and performing music for an avant garde theatre production; (Innenschau by Jakob Ahlbom to be precise). Not to mention trips to Austria and Finland along the way…

Being busy seems to suit them. The result of their labours, “Unicorn Loves Deer”, is a cocksure record; enjoyably eccentric in places even, though not quite the eccentricity that saw Syd rub Mandies in his hair. Still, it must be said, there is a fair dollop of faerie pop that does get slightly Barrett-esque: as “Unicorn Loves Deer” feels very English in places. The quirky pastoral elements in tracks like “Apples” recall Traffic stuck in their cottage in Berkshire, the Small Faces messing about in their punt on the Thames,  or the Pretty Things at their most floral. The title track comes on like some psychotically twee Morris dance with a restless fluffy beat. It’s certainly something you need a few plays to get your head round.

ART do have their own peculiar vibe though, one that gets the thumbs up from outlets as diverse as Le Monde (FR) and Filter magazine (USA). They are masters of affirmative song writing and the deal on this claim is sealed, so to speak, by their magisterial use of vocals, whether employed in ridiculously gymnastic harmonies or counter melodic punches. Listen to the way the vocals inform the mood of a song; comforting as on “Shake Off the Leaves”, or slightly daft as in “Motorman and Owls”. “Lindyshop” has a wide-eyed lunacy that is all of its own making, all the time reined in and yet, (somehow, quite inexplicably for this correspondent), reinforced by some splendid harmonies. The music has a skip in its step, too: “The Moon Rides High” is a classic track, utilizing that clever knack of returning triumphantly to a catchy chorus. And I wonder what drives their lyrics?

This is a record very much of its times and of another time; but unlike lots of releases around today, you don’t need – or feel the need – to have a degree in pop history to appreciate it.

Alamo Race Track is:

Ralph Mulder (Vocals, guitar), Leonard Lucieer (Guitar, keyboard), Robin Buijs (Drums) & Peter Akkerman (Bass, Upright bass)