Abandon Fashion, an EP by Fort Collins band Race to Neptune, combines driving rhythms with lazy psychedelic effects to provide a balanced and diverse album. It’s everything an EP should be: a showcase of a band’s breadth without being too long or featuring songs that are too similar.
Race to Neptune formed in 2015 and released their first album, Oh Contraire in 2016. In the intervening period, they’ve been playing gigs on their own and in collaboration with others around Colorado. In Fort Collins, the band has played favorite venues like the Downtown Artery, Hodi’s Halfnote, and the Aggie Theater, and in Denver has played Herman’s Hideaway, Lost Lake, and the Larimer Lounge. Last year Race to Neptune recorded Abandon Fashion at Stout Studios in Fort Collins.
At twenty minutes, this album is short and to the point. “Mortal Melody” begins with choppy chords on guitar that feed a lazy melody. The song continues to grow until it leaves behind the malaise of the intro and becomes a driving force with a punchy beat. Lyrically inspired by grunge, the song feels as though it is not far from the garage. Conscious variations on a theme seem absent in a great deal of alternative and rock, in large part because the songs are too short to allow themes previously developed to return later in a track. We encounter changing themes and return to earlier motifs in every song on Abandon Fashion, which is refreshing.
“Departure” takes us in a radical new direction. The song begins with placid chords, over which the band layers distorted vocals and guitar. Making great use of tempo, the group maintains a laid-back feel throughout while preventing the music from getting bogged down at any point. We are treated to soaring guitar solos throughout, before dropping into the comfort of the next verse and chorus.
“Sunsets” sounds about what it feels like: knives of late afternoon sun slicing through the blinds and splashing across the floor of the front room. Bright guitars played by Brian Maier and Zach Berger intertwine and build the melody to the end of the track. It’s a song of yearning, and a reminder of longer days in these cold months.
The title track, “Abandon Fashion”, is positioned at the end of the album. Of the songs on this EP it is the most complex and stylistically unique. There are no lyrics – it’s one long jam. The intro is a long series of high, unsettling notes picked out on guitar. After what seems an eternity new sounds layer into the mix, giving way to warm, low chords. Over this rhythm we get wandering riffs that have a decidedly psychedelic feel to them. The song is a sonic journey, best enjoyed by sitting back and letting the sounds wash back and forth through the room. When it’s over we return to the same few high, unsettling notes.
As an album, the presentation is superb. The four songs work well together but are noticeably different from each other. Abandon Fashion is the perfect album to listen to with friends in a comfortable place during the cool light of the afternoon. And, as any good EP should, it will leave you wanting more. Race to Neptune is heading back to the studio to lay down tracks for their next EP. You can see Race to Neptune in concert with Attack on Venus and EON at the Campus West Pinball Jones in Fort Collins on March 1stand in concert with EON at the Three Kings Tavern in Denver on March 24th.
Abandon Fashion is available on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music as well as at https://racetoneptune.bandcamp.com/album/abandon-fashion.
Photos featured in this article were provided by Race to Neptune.