Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Rec Take On Tales of Working Class life To Great Effect On ‘EP4: Two Fingered Gestures’

Dovey and Ritchie, the duo behind the Rec, initially met in 1981. After forming The Assassins, stardom briefly threatened to find them after a series of raucous shows in their hometown of Oswestry, Shropshire, yet success slipped through their grasp. Now, after nearly three decades away, the pair have reconnected and are eager to make up for lost time. 

Their fourth EP since their resurrection, the marvellous ‘ep4: two fingered gestures’, finds the band revisit and rework songs from their youth, as they beautifully convey the mundane reality of growing up in a small English town.  

Opener ‘this is the rec’ is not named after the band, rather the landmark in their hometown that lent the band their name. It’s a heavy, distorted start backed by a dance beat, creating a sound reminiscent of U2’s 90s’ reinvention. As the duo talk of childhood as working-class kids, we find a pair seemingly at ease with the world they find themselves in. “My mum’s on nights and my dad’s still ill” they sing, unfazed with the lifestyle they were born into. However, not everyone who has been weathered by the sands of time can capture that innocent stretch of life quite as melancholically as the Rec do here. 

A surprising turn is taken on follow-up ‘Factory Lil’, as we find the boring aspects of everyday realities relayed into a sombre piano ballad. It’s the band at their lyrical best as they perfectly encapsulate families on the breadline, “Feed the ducks and drink some coffee” are ideals that would have fit into any Pulp britpop song of the same ilk and show off the introspective lyrics that are fast becoming synonymous with the duo. 

‘College Road’ is based on the road of the same name found in their hometown of Oswestry. It’s a plain stretch of concrete, flanked on either side by semi-detached and terrace houses with white vans parked outside. “Dirty houses, cracked windowpanes / Stray dogs biting at my ankles as I pass by” sing the band, as they take us on a vivid stroll down a regular old street. However, their masterly crafted lyrics allow the listener to believe they’re walking alongside them. 

The track itself starts off with a folk feel, whilst the monotone and eerie vocals paired with the songs sound gives off Radiohead vibes. The multiple genres at work combine to create what is easily the standout track on the EP. 

Tales of espionage and long-gone glory days close out the EP on ‘for sale’. The gentle piano and distant strings add to the mystery of the track, whilst celestial xylophone riffs only enhance the dream-like nature of the song. 

The acceptance of defeat and the longing for old days could fit perfectly as a metaphor for the band. As ageing captures us all, it’s easy to wish for the old days to return, yet many wouldn’t make half as good a go of it as the Rec manage on their fourth EP. 

James Ogden 

Image: EP4: Two Fingered Gesture Cover 

1 comment:

  1. Great review James - thanks ever so much, Ritchie.


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