It’s not exactly an original theme, that of the dangerously deceptive suburban facade. After all, it’s a post-modern theme that has been explored by Arcade Fire and Kevin Smith, amongst others. But it probably hasn’t been dealt with in quite the manner Races has on its debut LP, Year of the Witch. On their first single, “Lies,” they combine a dream pop aesthetic alongside a regimented dissonance that resurrects visions of General Douglas MacArthur training troops on what is now the 18th fairway of the Presidio. It’s idyllic at first glance, but there’s a gauzy portent of ominous malaise symbolically present within the musical arrangement.
These are the suburbs where meth labs are hidden within prefab apartments surrounded by corporately manicured lawns. The suburbs where promising teenagers turn to hard drugs and leave their loved ones behind prematurely. The suburbs where highly intelligent graduate students lose touch with reality and strike back against society coldly, broadly and seemingly inexplicably. Still waters run deep…and the current below is the subject of Races’ “Liars.”
Catch them as they tour from Canada (tonight at Toronto’s oh-so-hip Drake Hotel) and down America’s east coast before making their way back towards their native California. You remember those suburbs…you saw what can happen in movies like Thirteen, Better Luck Tomorrow and, well, E.T.. The suburbs can be a scary place…but remain captivating, nonetheless.