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Alamo Race Track | Birds At Home (Excelsior)
From the Dutch label that brought us classic albums from the likes of Daryll-Ann, Johan and Bauer, comes new signings Alamo Race Track. Frontman Ralph Mulder didn't find these songs peering into an empty beer bottle, or in the parting note of a lost love. Instead that least-likely rock'n'roll pastime, bird-watching [stop sniggering at the back, please] inspired this set of neo-pop songs. Short Leave is sung with the breathy intimacy of Dakota Suite, although its piano backing has a spring in its step, and Summer Holiday is every bit the soundtrack to a super-8 film of a student-packed car cruising the sea-front, interspersed with some volleyball scenes of course. Between these two extremes 'Birds at Home' delivers some classy, contemporary pop that owes a debt to the likes of Radiohead and first album Sparklehorse, whilst tapping into the New York water supply on the upbeat Wild Bees, Speed Up and We Like To Go On. It makes for a schizophrenic listen, as Mulder and Co swing between subtle acoustic mood music and punchy new wave, his expressive voice negotiating the curves with ease.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003