Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space

Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space

The brilliant Public Service Broadcasting (still unsigned, how’s that possible?) released a 43-minute long historical space-laden album, aptly called The Race For Space.

A younger me’s first ever 7″ single was a recording of Yuri Gagarin’s legendary first orbit around the earth from 1961; Vostok 1.
And with space programmes and space travel being the recurring topic of any of my youth’s show-and-tell in front of the class, my interest in anything cosmonaut and astronaut related never really died down.

Fast forward 20-odd years ahead, and, being on my way for a week of well-deserved peace somewhere on a beach, I decided I needed to pick up a book to kill time.
My decision? Predictable. I picked up a book written by maybe the most well-known astronaut of modern-day, guitar-loving Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (recommended read by the way).
I quickly went through the book, grasped by his fantastic stories. Within a couple of days, my rediscovered lust for space was fully rebooted.

It should therefore come as no surprise that, just by reading the album title and browsing through the track listing, The Race For Space was an album I was very much looking forward to.

I’m no stranger to Public Service Broadcasting; their colourful storytelling and intricate inclusions of historical audio excerpts, and I very much enjoyed their debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain.

The Race For Space opens with its title track and features a historical significant speech by John F. Kennedy, addressing his wish to explore space, and announcing the space race that would grip generations.

Fire In The Cockpit, one of the most emotionally laden tracks on the album, describes the disastrous events that took place on the Apollo 1 mission.
The news coverage extract on top of the perfectly constructed soundscapes gives any space lover the shivers; especially the point where you understand the horrendous place the three soon-to-be astronauts were during the test.

Gagarin, logically about man’s first orbit around Earth, a historical highlight for mankind, is one of the best tracks on the album. The sheer enjoyment and pride symbolised with the chirpy trumpets brings you back (when possible, if you’re old enough) to 1961.

The delightful synths on top of bright guitar riffs on Extravehicular Activity (E.V.A.) seem bright, but the intermezzo in the middle with your eyes closed could give you a feeling of floating in dark space.

In case you have absolutely no interest in space, space travel or carefully sound collages, you will probably not find this album entertaining.

However, if you are like me an aspiring, but never-to-be astronaut or cosmonaut, this album will be the soundtrack to your space dreams. Its carefully structured and chronologically correct order of appearance of each track gives you a great summary of the first 15 years of The Race For Space.

The Race For Space
Fire in the Cockpit
The Other Side
Valentina – Smoke Fairies



About author

Timothy FSM 621 posts

Converted to dEUS-ism in 2001. Keen on screaming Friday Friday Friday once a week on Twitter. Might convince you not to talk about U2.

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