UPHILL RACER - No Need To Laugh

Uphill Racer - No Need To Laugh

10 songs
51:43 minutes
***** **


Uphill Racer is a solo project by the 26 year old Oliver Lichtl from Munich. His second CD You Will Understand was already released in August 2007, but we were a bit slow and are reviewing therefore his debut No Need To Laugh. This album title represents quite adequately what to expect from this CD which conveys a rather sad mood.

Lichtl describes his music as a mixture of pop, shoegazer and psychedelic which are rather fitting terms. This one man orchestra has created a singer songwriter/album full of poetic images with the ability to make you daydream. The opener The Fat Grin Of The Enemy, the album’s highlight, is a calm post rock song with wonderful, multi-tracked vocals reminding of Sigur Ros. The following Polarbreak has a too long acoustic intro before morphing into a more atmospheric mood. I Am Sorry sounds like Beck accompanied by blubbering noises. Tangerine is a sad song with dominant piano and mellotron parts. Break The Bone Start The Show again suffers from a too unspectacular start before turning into something more electronic la Notwist. This first half of the CD shows already more or less what Uphill Racer is about. The same ideas and concepts are repeated on the following five tracks but that doesn’t mean that the arrangements are always the same. The only more different song is The Rain-Pouress which contains nice string arrangements and even a harp.

It’s quite impressive what one man can do to achieve such a compact record. Oliver Lichtl isn’t only responsible for the songwriting and the vocals, but he’s also playing guitars, piano, strings, mellotron and using animal noises and multiple samples of his own voice to create a choir. As his minimalist approach to music is sounding quite emotive and fragile, Uphill Racer can be recommended to fans of Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Coldplay, Talk Talk, Tori Amos and the likes.

No Need To Laugh is sounding quite mature and Oliver Lichtl’s efforts should be taken seriously, but I wonder why he doesn’t prefer working with a band, because when performing live, Uphill Racer is a two to four member ensemble.

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