[5 May 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Little Racer is a Brooklyn four-piece with a difference. Over the course of their Modern Accent EP, you may be reaching for comparisons to such ‘80s acts as the Cure, New Order, Joy Division and the Pixies. You may even go back further than that. “Fire Island”, one of the six tracks on this 24-minute EP, even sounds like a modern rendering of a Beach Boys song. Comparisons have been drawn elsewhere on the web to Vampire Weekend (which I really don’t hear) and Surfer Blood (a little more on the mark, but not quite). So there’s a whole raft of sounds that has gone into the sonic blend of the Modern Accent EP, and that’s what makes it so gosh darn enjoyable. Add to that the songwriting is top-notch. Even opening song “Fake French” might even have you reaching for the past with such lyrics as “When I was young / I was an idiot / Always getting my head messed up.”
But the real power on this album is the one-two opening punch of “Fake French” and “Vanessa”, both of which might be contenders for songs of the year. “Fake French”, with its shimmery, liquid guitar line and pulsating bass line, conjures feelings of listlessness and loneliness, all wrapped up in a bubblegum sound that will have you wringing your hands at how music like this just isn’t made all that often anymore. “Vanessa” is just as good, sounding like a long lost Pixies tune somewhere circa Bossanova, which is what I think is that band’s criminally underrated album. It’s just a damn catchy, bouncy song, with a chorus of “ohh ooh ohh’s” at the end sounding remotely Police-like. And while the rest of the EP falls slightly fall and hollow in its middle section, that’s not a criticism. The songs are still stellar, but the band has shot so high with those opening two tracks that anything else would be almost impossible to match. Overall, the Modern Accent EP leaves you in the end wanting more, more, more. I’d love to hear what else these four guys from New York have up their sleeves, but, until then, there’s always the liberal overuse of that repeat button to tide us over.