Red Rum Club – Matador

Red Rum Club’s debut is going to excite, confuse, inspire, and then excite you all over again. It asks the question ‘What is Indie in 2019?’, and answers it with ‘whatever the hell you want it to be’. Why not drizzle your sound with Americana? Why not weave in a powerful brass section? Indie can be anything right now, and it can definitely be this.

There couldn’t have been a better choice of opening track on ‘Matador’ than ‘Angeline’, and it’s a good job Red Rum Club had the same idea. It belts the album into life, from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye, and you are immediately sucked into the whirlpool of danceable Latin-infused Scouse Indie bangers. It’s not a song that goes the way you think though, and that fact is perfectly exhibited in the song’s chorus.

Where you expect the vocals to soar upwards, they take this small step down before finally unleashing themselves back into the heights, and this move alone creates an atmosphere unique to Red Rum Club’s whole album. It’s not normal, it’s not what you expect, it’s not gimmicky, and it’s not perfect…but it’s inventive and new and vibrant and if a band can combine all of these aspects into the first listen of the opening track, I think they might be on to something here. 

Don’t get me wrong, this album is not going to appeal to everyone, and there are small aspects here and there that don’t quite sit with me (only very minor don’t worry), but that’s what personal taste is. I don’t tend to listen to a great deal of this vague genre ‘Indie’, but that is a sign that a lot of what Red Rum Club do is really quite something. Having heard singles ‘Honey’ and ‘Would You Rather Be Lonely?’ prior to release, the real pressure for RRC was going to be how their unreleased tracks stood up to the challenge of standing side by side with the singles. On the whole, they do rather bloody well. 

The grooving ‘Hung Up’, where short bursts of trumpet intersect a brilliant vocal performance from both Fran Doran and the backings lent by the rest of the band. Catchy? Check. Well-written? Check. Check, check, check, checks left, right and centre. ‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’ is another off the album that caught my attention. Again, RRC aren’t afraid to explore the genre they’ve carved out for themselves, and this time the Americana influence is stronger.

It’s a sultry, sexier, ballad-esc Red Rum Club now, and once again they’ve proved that if that’s the band they want to be then they absolutely can. Penultimate track ‘Remedy (To Clean A Dirty Soul) is the final track I’ll give the limelight to, and this one is right up there rivalling ‘Angeline’ for my favourite off the whole album. There’s a dancier vibe to this one, funky bassline, perhaps some synth interweaved with the trumpet, and altogether it really highlights the endearing pop undercurrent that holds the Indie and the Americana together. 

Overall, Red Rum Club have put out an album that will force people to notice. Breaking into the Top 50 UK albums is an amazing achievement, but people need to realise that there is a very good reason for that happening. It’s because this album, especially the fact it’s a debut album I might add, is a great listen.

Not everything is my exact cup of tea, and I’m not going to sit here and say “that Red Rum Club are going to be the biggest band in the world, just you watch”, but you better take notice. If they stay on the path they’re on, this weird and wonderful non-genre-specific approach might just pay off. 2019 is going to be an exciting time for this Liverpool sextet, but I’ve got a funny feeling that when these long 12 months are over 2020 might be even bigger for them.