Racing Heart
To Walk Beside That Ghost


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
April 22nd, 2012 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Swelling with gorgeous melodies and consuming depth, To Walk Beside That Ghost marks an unforgettable entrance for Racing Heart.

To an extent, I’ve always felt like indie albums were measured by their ability to defy convention. As a member of what was once a select community, if you could take an idea and make it rougher around the edges – weirder – without crossing the line into complete hysteria, you were the envy of your competition. Just look at the way bands such as The Microphones, Animal Collective, and Broken Social Scene made unique imprints over the past decade. It wasn’t just that their music satisfied some vague definition by which the genre adheres to, they actually blazed a path that nobody else could follow. Something that was relatively inaccessible, very interesting sounding, and most importantly, theirs. I think “indie” has become a kind of umbrella term recently, frequently used to describe any artist that wields an acoustic guitar or seems halfway genuine. As bands everywhere strive to become 2012’s Mumford & Sons, or to craft the ideal song for a touching movie scene, the pool of those not feigning genuineness seems to dwindle by the day. It’s almost as if, in a way, being genuine isn’t even genuine anymore. Now it takes a truly unique idea, or an old idea put in an entirely new perspective, to truly capture people’s attention. That’s where Racing Heart steps in, with a debut in To Walk Beside That Ghost that may not be a trailblazer, but is wholeheartedly authentic enough to distinguish Racing Heart as a band worth watching in the future and worth enjoying right now.

I’m not saying that this is a generation defining album, or that it pioneers never-before-heard musical territory, but To Walk Beside That Ghost is quite simply the answer to everything that this new breed of mainstream indie bands has been missing. It is tangibly emotional – not manufactured emotion, but raw and candid. Its approach never feels strained, but instead flourishes through Mathias Tjonn’s Thom Yorke-meets-Win Butler style of vocals. There is nary a weak song on the album, as even the shortest tracks play a key role in orchestrating the album’s impeccable flow. ‘Et Onske, et Hap’, for example, passes by rather inconspicuously with a vocals-only, lyrically trim (title is chanted repeatedly) performance, but it serves as the perfect bridge between ‘The War’ and ‘Emma’ – two cornerstones on an album filled with gems. The prior may be one of the best songs of the year so far, dwelling in a mysterious atmosphere of acoustic picking, strings, and tremendously varied vocals from the band’s multi-talented frontman. The lyrics are also noteworthy here, as they are throughout the entire record’s span, offering up lines such as, “There’s a hole in your heart where the love seeps in, there’s a hole in my heart where it all flows out.” Perhaps the most impressive moment on paper comes in ‘Emma’, in which Tjonn professes, “Where our language lacks words, that empty space is yours.” In an album overflowing with emotive, relationship-based poetry, the line still manages to stand out as an example of Tjonn’s potential heights.

The majority of To Walk Beside That Ghost masters the balance between slow-burning ballads and mid-tempo songs, and in that way it was never intended to be an upbeat album. That’s okay though, because despite its noticeable fixation on one approach to pace, there is never a moment of ill-conceived redundancy. Even though the record is stripped down to its bare bones in terms of production, there is still a plethora of instrumental variety that is utilized far enough apart and in enough moderation to highlight the qualities of each track. ‘This Pretty Mistake’ opens thing sup with just an acoustic guitar, but the song (as with much of the album) is driven by the strength of Tjonn’s vocals. ‘Turn Around’ features a string/horn combination during the outro that lends the album a sense of elegance at just the right time, immediately before its transition into the piano-heavy ‘Photos.’ It is this kind of fluency that underscores Racing Heart’s entire debut, as the sensation of fluidity/smoothness continues throughout the woodwinds in ‘Words for the Ones We Lost’, the audible bass and swelling middle verse of ‘The War’, and the electronic keyboarding and chimes that send To Walk Beside That Ghost out in a truly eclectic fashion.

Racing Heart has crafted a superb debut. It sets a thoughtful mood from the start with its gentle pace and poignant lyrics, and only improves as time goes on. Instrumentally it may be rather simple, but it is also pulls from an extremely diverse palette. Mathias Tjonn, the brainchild of Racing Heart, is clearly the most recognizable source of skill here, and he uses the threadbare foundation of the music as a vessel to exercise his talents. It all adds up to one very rewarding listen, and considering how young Racing Heart is as a band, there is no telling where its ceiling will end.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/19

I recommend a listen, definitely a band on the rise.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012


20971 Comments


so

I love this album

swag

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you listened already? didn't think anyone would've heard of it prior to this review.

what's your favorite song? i absolutely love "the war"

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012


20971 Comments


Hey hey spotify is good for SOMETHING

and I like This Pretty Mistake best but The War is gorgeous too

:]

Dimor
April 22nd 2012


1835 Comments


Hell yeah, just gave this my first listen about 2 hours ago and it sounded quite good. Good review Sowing, as per usual

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks dimor :]

the vocalist for this band is so good aaahhhh

chambered69
April 22nd 2012


1253 Comments


great review i like all the albums in reced ill check this out :]

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man glad we're pals again

going to listen to TDAG to celebrate

chambered69
April 22nd 2012


1253 Comments


haha same

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012


20971 Comments


Sowing the new Marina is leaking this week

you better review it

or else

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Marina who's that?

jk but I don't think I'm slated to review it now I have to go check the forums ugghhh the things I do for you Tyrael

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012


20971 Comments


The first official release date should be thursday night in the USA

I have been looking forward to this album for more than a year and I want my favourite staffer to review it

Also, my 5 review will probably take 3 months to finish or so ^^

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't see it listed in the upcoming releases for sputnik staffers

I'm not going to officially dibs it because I have 2 reviews slated this week already and I don't know if I'll even have time for them, but I promise if I can I will get around to Marina

But if I don't you should review it, a good shot at a feature since I don't see any staff/contribs that have called dibs on it

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012


20971 Comments


what

I'm gonna kill Davey

he was supposed to review it too

but I wanted you to do it

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dunno maybe he is, I just didn't see anything posted

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012


20971 Comments


Fine

i'll try to write something

it'll probably suck tho

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jeez Tyrael, have a little confidence!

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 22nd 2012


2888 Comments


this sounds righteous, i'll give it a spin tonight

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


16919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome, let me know what you think!

LifeAsAChipmunk
April 22nd 2012


4854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great stuff. The vocal harmonies remind me of Jellyfish.



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