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If Pink Floyd hadn’t insisted on applying the phrase “the delicate sound of thunder” to their own music when they came up with it, they could have loaned it out to Los Angeles sextet RACES. On “Big Broom,” RACES more than live up to the description by mixing rafter-shaking atmospheric rumbling with ethereal wispiness like a thunderstorm raging in Fairyland.
The song kicks off with a brooding bass line and sketchy guitar part that for the first section of “Big Broom” places it in the dark psychedelic territory of bands like The Black Angels and The Warlocks. Then pianist Breanna Wood drops in to add a soaring harmony to Wade Ryff’s lead vocals and it’s like a ray of sunlight suddenly cutting through the dark clouds. The ominous roar of the song continues on its way, but Wood’s voice slowly moves more and more to the fore until by the end she’s on equal footing with Ryff and “Big Broom” concludes with the feeling that the clouds have parted for good.
Crafting a song that simultaneously stomps and tiptoes requires a band with a sure sense of dynamics, and Races rise to that challenge with “Big Broom.” They sacrifice neither roar nor soar, but strike a perfect balance between the two. “Big Broom” is like a storm that batters everyone below it with hailstones, then paints the sky with a rainbow to make up for it.