Album review: Red Rum Club – Matador

The album cover for Red Rum Club's debut record.

The album cover for Red Rum Club's debut record. - Credit: Archant

A grown-up, accomplished, funky and fun debut with added mariachi zest.

Right from the opening trumpet blasts and lustful couplets of the driving rocker Angeline, Liverpudlian indie six-piece Red Rum Club are at full-tilt on this attention-grabbing debut.

Frontman Fran Doran is a compelling and magnetic presence, ranging around for his ex-lover and wrestling with the thought she may be in another’s clutches, while angsty guitar and shrill mariachi trumpet ratchet up the breathless drama.

RRC have been misleadingly played up by some as a spaghetti western rock’n’roll act, thanks to Joe “The Blow”s sterling contributions on the mariachi brass. But that undersells a band that have more in common with accomplished melodic indie storytellers like The Coral, The Hours, The Zutons – even Echo & The Bunnymen.

It’s not used as a gimmick, and a few listens will leave you wondering why more bands don’t weave brass into their work.

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Doran is an all-too-rare commodity in today’s indie bands too, an impressive singer who’s more than capable of holding court – and the notes – on the thrusting chorus of Honey while having enough lyrical nous to keep things interesting throughout.

The arrangements are spot-on and musicianship sharp – the prowling bassline of Remedy (To Clean A Dirty Soul) is as satisfyingly funky as it is seedy.

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Several tunes ooze crossover dancefloor appeal too, suitable for the spilt-beer stickiness of indie clubs and sweaty Latin-leaning nightclubs alike – particularly the slinky-hipped Calexico and Casanova.

Matador is an astute, highly accomplished and novel set, quite remarkable for a debut, that’s bursting with hooks, natty basslines, anthemic choruses, danceable rhythms and passionate delivery.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Red Rum Club play the Notting Hill Arts Club on Saturday, March 23.

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