Race to Neptune drops EP
With a subdued yet mischievous grin, “Mortal Melody” kicks off Colorado hard rockers Race to Neptune’s latest extended play Abandon Fashion with a mighty, albeit ominous, roar that doesn’t take long to reach maximum volume (and stay there, comfortably, for the duration of the record). Anyone following heavy music in the Midwest for the last couple of years has probably heard the echo of Race to Neptune’s thunderous jams. Fusing a fuzz-drenched love of old school, Palm Desert stoner rock ala Kyuss and Fu Manchu with a uniquely Rocky Mountain identity, the band is garnering a lot of attention from both critics and fans with this latest release and sharing the love with the untapped Colorado music scene that they celebrate.
A lot of critics might rush to call Race to Neptune a straight up stoner rock band, but I don’t know that the label is a fair moniker for this group to wear. As psychedelic and bass heavy as Abandon Fashion is, the content doesn’t come off particularly druggy or spacey in the way that genre standards like Welcome to Sky Valley did, and most of their songs are structured around simple narratives and chord schemes more in line with Pixies-inspired alternative rock than desert bong bosses. As a fan of both styles of music, I think that anyone who has a deep appreciation of high volume alternative rock or metallic Palm Desert stuff would have an easy time getting into Race to Neptune, but their identity isn’t limited to these scenes exclusively.
In the song “Departure,” there’s a certain point towards the end of the track where the amplifier feedback begins to take on a life of its own, as if to be its own instrument or entity sharing a piece of this band’s stardom. It reminded me a lot of Boris, but a little more direct and focused on a specific goal as opposed to shapeless and obtuse. Every song on Abandon Fashion shows off a different side of Race to Neptune, whether it be the quaking of the opening track or the post-punk indulgence of “Sunsets” (which stands out as one of the catchiest heavy rock songs I’ve listened to in years), but we never get the impression that the band is trying to look or feel a lot more diverse in aesthetics than they really are.
Real, raw and organically harvested, Abandon Fashion introduces a lot of us to a band that has the potential to ignite excitement in any diehard rock fan’s life as well as inject a little bit more adrenaline into a somewhat stagnant indie rock culture that has seen little growth – or overdrive – in the last decade. Packed full of surreal lyrics, grinding rhythms and melody in places where you would least expect to find it, this is a record that I highly recommend to anyone in search of gigantic yet non-aggressive heavy music that ascribes to no one set of rules but instead follows the beat of its own drum.