Review: The Race for Space by Public Service Broadcasting

The Race for Space by Public Service BroadcastingI was born in 1989, a good two decades after the peak of the space race between the Americans and the Soviets was reached, with Apollo 13 landing a man on the moon. I only know so much, from documentaries and the occasional hours lost on Wikipedia. I’m not saying Public Service Broadcasting’s second record, The Race for Space, is essential if you want to know what happened – while they do hit the major beats, they don’t linger on the details. What the London art rock duo did is take audio clips of the time, much like on their first record, and use those clips to annotate the head rush expressed, or not, among those involved. And it works: The Race for Space is cinematic and properly evocative, conveying the wonder – and the pain – of landing man on the moon. From the celebratory funk of “Gagarin”, to the serene “The Other Side”, to the to-hell-with-it exuberance of “Go!”, the duo succeed where straightforward talking head documentaries mostly stumble: putting you in the action. This record, it’s a proper rush. [NB]4/5

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