The Spirit – the new album by Hugo Race & The True Spirit
Press quotes July 2015
'A darkly singular experience then, and one of the best records he's ever made...'
Vive Le Rock, UK:
'Deep bass grooves, pivotal New Orleans-style drumming, hot post-punk soul, a hoodoo voodoo gumbo like prime Dr John...' – 8/10
Louder Than War, UK:
‘Race has a captivating low growl of a voice, instantly bringing to mind Leonard Cohen, but ‘The Spirit’ also glows with the noir atmospherics of Rowland S Howard and the coiled funk of Issac Hayes. The seductive mood suffuses the entire, thoroughly enjoyable album.’
‘Hugo Race's new album sounds like the soundtrack to a movie I would really like to see. I imagine a mixture of Twin Peaks and True Blood... dramatic, intense, cinematic.'
Rolling Stone Germany:
'Dark Eros and transcendental blues…'
‘A perfect soundtrack for True Detective, the sound passing through the neural pathways of Hugo Race & The True Spirit can be heard in the last song on the album, the mighty 'Higher Power', where you can feel how it is not about cowboys from Zane Grey novel or Hank Williams, but an armor-plated, vicious variant that has not yet been written by Cormac McCarthy…’
'Hugo Race and The True Spirit live in their own world of sound - blues, voodoo, dub, trip hop, Morricone soundscapes, psychedelia, industrial mysticism.....'
Rock and Folk, Paris:
'This voyager without frontiers advances through a menacing atmosphere of no-wave electroacoustics. There is the spirit here, and it doesn't forget the body and the soul...'
The Music, Australia:
"A bluesy, brooding collection of songs by a talented singer-songwriter with three decades of musical prowess behind him." - Dylan Stewart
‘Hugo looks deep into the heart and soul of his lyrics and music and encourages the musicians around him to dominate. His voice and lyrics are, after all, paramount but it’s the emotional world Michelangelo, Brett, Bryan and Nico Mansy create which give Hugo space - and the delight in seducing us. This is a defining LP for The True Spirit, there’s no way they can go backward. This is benchmark stuff.’
‘Warm and evocative, a voice that speaks of real life, passions, solitude, voyage, and the spirit of revolt.’
‘Hugo Race is a great institution in the field of independent rock music, and every new album is always well received. The destabilizing rock of HR&TS is never banal. In fact, it's this album's total absence of banality that renders it unique, and the clear simplicity of the songs even more disturbing...'
‘The Spirit is not only a confirmation of originality and high artistic value, but also one of the most fascinating chapters in what is already a long story.’
‘The Spirit is firstly a statement of intention, the shared image of a vision, the precise testimony of a state of the soul... Once you're immersed in the sound amidst the background of constant cicadas, there unfolds a slow, dense groove of subtle sensuality... A work of real substance, indifferent to fashion, intense like few others...'
'Stomping grooves and eerie guitars, this album tingles under your skin...'
Blow Up, Italy:
'Hugo Race returns after his ongoing journey through the rediscovery of pure folk with Fatalists and his African travels with BKO (Dirtmusic). This record (The Spirit), however, seems the natural guise for his big voice, and the encounter between moody roots inspirations and wild electronic flashes renders the musical backgrounds unique...'
'Race does not forget about the delicious melodies. Even a recording as non-commercial as "The Spirit" proves that Race can create great songs. Noncommercial and great songs? A paradox? Only apparently. Listen to "The Spirit," and you will not want to get out of the swamp vapors...'
'Race allows the most diverse, musical influences (psychedelics, raw blues, gentle soul and electronics) in his own work, making for a private, definite, specific sound that emerges strongly, determined by energetic rhythms, sonic sound structures, and seasoned with Race's deep dark lyricism.'
Focus Kultur, Germany:
'No one else makes music quite like this, and that in itself is an achievement...
Hugo Race & the True Spirit - The Spirit – Classic Rock Magazine - Germany
The mood of the 10 dark songs is reminiscent of the last part of the classic film"Apocalypse Now", when the patrol boat reached the abandoned temple complex, where dwells the crazy Colonel Kurtz. He would certainly have liked this music. - 08/10
'The clash of rough and raw emotional sound is a highlight - nothing is fake or false here .... You can hear the sincerity and artistic maturity, which does not look at the trends and fashion, but consistently goes its own way.' - E-Splot, Poland
'In 2006 I described the album Taoist Priest of Hugo Race + True Spirit as "a combination of melancholic male Leonard Cohen, the big city blues of Nick Cave and the hypnotic keyboards Barry Adamson. Nine years later, my definition is still absolutely true. Beautifully constructed songs with dark and at the same time intriguing atmospheres...'
‘Fine, broody album (Between Hemispheres) from former Bad Seed plus collaborators. The much travelled Race again brings his varied sense of atmosphere and backdrop to enhance the complex emotional states presented in these songs’.
UNCUT **** UK| February 2011
Hugo Race Live in Adelaide 2013:
I haven't seen such drama, such restrained passion in a long while. It's a huge, huge sound. Takes you in, won't let go, you forget time, time speeds up and slows down in the same instant. We're captured. Hugo's songs are carefully structured, clever, yet innocent. As he performs, Hugo is many things all at once: you can see the young boy, the young man, the older man, his father. And there's huge pain in there as well, catastrophic, as well as more simple tales of people he's met. Most of the set tonight comes from his current cd, We Never Had Control, there's a handful from Fatalists. Hugo is so much his own man, he's obviously not using anyone for a springboard except himself - his songs, demeanour, his manner of expression are all the result of decades of work - his own. I think he's one of the most courageous men I've seen on stage in a long while. Hugo Race is a major, major talent. If you've not seen Hugo live, and you've missed him this tour, you'll have to get on a plane. He's that good.
• - Mandy Tzaras, i94bar.com
Hugo Race Fatalists Live in Sydney 2013:
“Race’s presence was undeniably captivating. Dressed in full three-piece suit-and-tie, he fashioned the atmosphere of the venue to suit his own aesthetic. Drawn into a dark corner, Race’s deep twisted vocals transformed the setting into a smoke-filled whisky joint that you’d expect from an old-time film-noir. Holding the audience in a trance, Hugo Race Fatalists filled the room with mesmerisingly sparse harmonies that put the stunning recorded versions to shame. Truly one of the great unsung musicians that Australia has to offer, Hugo Race is an artist that holds your hand and leads you through the gritty moodiness of his songs, then comforts you at the exact moment you begin to feel lost.”
• - Alexandra Skeer, Tone Deaf Australia, on 3 October 2013
“Whilst the solo work of Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Rowland S. Howard and Hugo Race all share aesthetic and aural similarities, they are also highly individual works from unique and creative figures. Here (Fatalists), one truly appreciates the fact that Race has perhaps created the opus which will define his long career.”
Denise Granse‘Fatalists’ Review| Drum Media| Sydney| Feb 2011
Hugo Race Fatalists Live in Melbourne:
Hugo Race has the kind of presence that draws your eyes towards him wherever he stands in a room. Race starts with a solo number. That commanding, effortless baritone caresses while extracting maximum meaning from every word as the audience shuffles closer to the stage. Once joined by Fatalists, it’s as if time suspends. This show is an immersive experience. The congregation are impressively attentive. One enthusiast drops to his knees in worship, remaining there for almost an entire song’s duration.”
• - Bryget Christfield, The Music Australia, September 2013
Hugo Race Fatalists Live in Melbourne:
The masterful mix between the deep rough tone to Hugo’s voice, the bright consistent rhythm section and the tasteful guitar fills occupied the room with sound. With this sound came an energy, the music took on an immersive quality that can only be experienced at a live show. Emphasizing this was the intense presence of Hugo Race. I understand now why so many compare him to Mark Lanegan, the live presence is undeniable. Inescapable. Now that I’m standing out on the freezing Melbourne street, I have a minute to write down some clever, informed and intellectually complex notes about the show I just saw. Unfortunately the only words I keep repeating in my head are: That was cool, man.
• - Angus Evans, Mountainpass.com.au, September 2013
Hugo Race sings and plays an acoustic guitar, both in that deep dark blues manner that sounds classic, yet up-to-date. This is strong, evocative music and will likely go on my replay pile for when I want to let my body drift off while keeping my mind focused on this dark and intriguing imagery. Profound music, this.
• - David Hintz, Folkworld.de, March 2013
“Hugo Race is one of our most prolific composers and musicians… (his) ability to extract a level of textural, tonal and evocative detail from such a skeletal assemblage of instruments and turns of phrase is remarkable. Striking in its austerity, and shattering in its impact, Race’s smoke-scarred baritone has never sounded so convincing.”
MAG | Australia | February 2011
‘(Fatalists) is arguably an appropriate description for Race’s music in its various forms and guises; frequently dark, often confronting, Race sits on the windowsill outside the dominant culture, offering regularly astute, and occasionally bleak, assesments of matters emotional and cultural… invigorating as it is intense’
Beat| January 2011| Melbourne