Public Service Broadcasting: The Race For Space

Prog eccentrics take a giant leap on their superb second mission.

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This London duo’s eclectic debut Inform, Educate, Entertain was a work of impeccable musicianship, and the archival recordings that threaded through it as a narrative were meticulously arranged, weaving insight, inspiration and black humour into the tunes.

This aesthetic continues on their inspired second, which tells the story of exploration. Told from a post-Cold War perspective, it’s an even-handed and moving collection, covering some of the major events of the Apollo/Sputnik era. Musically, this is a more focused beast, and just as expansive. It doubles down on the krautrock and synth-led numbers of the debut while retaining some of its funkier moments (the brash bombast of Gagarin, the upbeat groove of E.V.A.). They’re equally in their element when taking a more post-rock, atmospheric and emotive tack (The Other Side), and there are numerous highlights: the ethereal choral introduction and title track (with JFK’s famous Rice Stadium moon speech); Sputnik, a synth-heavy and kraftwerk-esque extended number, and Go, a tense, motorik account of the Apollo 11 landing. Stunning stuff, for music lovers and space geeks alike.