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With two successful albums already under their belts, The Record Company’s ‘Early Songs & Rarities’ was originally realised last year, stateside only, on Record Store Day Black Friday, limited to just a thousand copies. But, courtesy of Snakefarm, a few months on, it’s being released in the UK, so British fans of the rootsy, bluesy retro rock trio can now also relish its analogue vinyl delights. And it seems their UK profile is ever on the up - with a planned appearance on the mainstage at Ramblin’ Man Fair this Summer, their popularity will undoubtedly continue to flourish.

Liner notes on the inner sleeve discuss the genesis of the band and how Alex Stiff, Chris Vos and Marc Cazorla originally set out on their musical journey back in 2011, DIY-style, complete with a small number of stills from the era. They also reveal the material on this record to be from “that period of the band’s formation”; also stating some of the tracks “are ragged around the edges”. Indeed, that might be so, but any ragged edges that can be perceivably heard bring an additional air of authenticity to their retro stylings, which is made further emphatic by the analogue rendering of the recordings on this vinyl format. It’s all very warm, organic, laidback and nostalgically evocative.

A small number of covers also feature in the tracklist, and have been given The Record Company treatment. The Beastie Boys’ ‘So What’cha Want’ is perhaps the most interesting, transformed very nicely indeed into their own retro bluesy take. Versions of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ and Grateful Dead’s ‘New Speedway Boogie’ are more straightforward covers, albeit their love of these axiomatic influences shine through in what are, effectively, homages to these artists .

While this is evidently one for the fans, rather than a representative introduction to what The Record Company have become, it serves as a thoroughly interesting insight and snapshot into their early development as a band. And I believe that the “rarities” claim in the album’s title rings true, as some of these recordings aren’t available in any other format. As such, aficionados of The Record Company will surely want to grab this while it’s available, to check out their origins of the band first-hand.
Snakefarm Records
Review by Mark Holmes
14th February 2020
SIDE A: 1) Darlin' Jane; 2) This Crooked City (alternate take); 3) Medicine Man; 4) New Speedway Boogie; 5) Ain't Love Warm; 6) Bright Lights, Big City
SIDE B: 7) Never Gonna Cry For Me; 8) So What'cha Want; 9) Goodbye Sad Eyes; 10) 4 Days 3 Nights; 11) The Jailor
"It’s all very warm, organic, laidback and nostalgically evocative."