ALBUM REVIEW: Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Released: Monday 23rd February

Test Card Recordings

More information on Public Service Broadcasting’s official website


Following on from the monochrome brilliance of their first album, PSB are back with a step into the unknown – outer space!

Inform – Educate – Entertain was a trawl through British cultural history utilising clips from the BFI. Its USP was in its form and presentation – coupled with cracking arrangements and proper tunes. So can Wrigglesworth and Willgoose Esq pull off the same trick again?

In reflecting the post war ambition and fearlessness of the space race, not only do they cast us into that period, they do it with such style and verve it brings about goosebumps.

My first listen to The Race For Space was in one sitting, loudly, on headphones, eased into the album on floaty electronica and archive voices setting the stage. Underlining the challenge, the second track Sputnik, is a growling multi-layered groove which wrong-foots you for what happens next. Gagarin is a full-on funk attack that belies the image of two white boys fannying about with old tapes, turning them into Michael Jackson. They certainly are starting something!

As the USA and the USSR attempted to top each other’s achievements, so the album grows. It’s not all garlands and glory, Fire In The Cockpit is a reminder of the dangers the astronauts faced, a test flight for Apollo 1 exploding into fire, claiming the lives of three men. The Otherside cranks up the tension as those at Mission Control await news of the first manned orbit of the moon; it builds into a glorious reflection of the trio of astronauts seeing the earth as a whole planet for the very first time and ends with an arms-in-the air celebration of bravery and joy.

The Race For Space is a wonderful trip across the cosmos, if the band’s forthcoming live shows are as good as the album – well, Houston, we won’t have a problem.

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