As a wise man once said, “The boys are back in town,” and they definitely are, the boys in this case being The Racket. It’s probably been a year since we last saw the band in all their glory and as is often the way, as soon as they hit that stage again you realize just how big a whole their absence left in the local music scene.
Their sound is still a rowdy blend of brit-pop and back street, punked up indie, but now, possibly under the influence of new guitarist Jordan O’Sullivan, it is the former that forms the core of their sound. They have always had the riffs and the tunes but now they deliver them through cleaner guitar lines and tighter playing, a combination that has stepped the band up a level or two, at least.
Besides the musical rebalancing, visually the band work better as well. Now with great guitar players on either side of him to hold the fort, Plummie is free to concentrate on being the front man, a role that he was born to play. Either with his guitar strapped on or just clutching the mic stand, the extra freedom to play the part really adds to the show. And what a show it is. Hook laden salvos from Jordan, garage indie wah-wah sleaze from Johnny, George at the back hammering out rock-rave beats and Jim’s subtle runs locking rhythm and melody together as only a great bassist can.
If you thought The Racket were good before, make sure you see the new improved recipe; without loosing that endearing swagger and cocky stage persona, they have matured a lot more than the year they have been away would suggest. Maybe they met the devil at a crossroads just south of Burnage and sold their souls to him. Now all they have to do is find their Alan Magee.