The Racing Pulses keeps its palette simple: Guitar, bass, drums, vocals. It's a classic formula that in this case yields garage rock music that's easy on the ears, with a lot to explore underneath the surface.
"It's music you can dance to," said the lead singer and guitarist Kristian Iliev, although he also asserts that it is "not exactly easy listening" either. The band takes pride in dense lyrics, sprawling rhythms, and rich melodies.
The three-piece outfit has been performing around south central Wisconsin since 2012. Now, they’re dropping their debut album, “Nothing to Write Home About,” a collection of the frenetic songs they’ve been fine-tuning for the past five years. They’ll perform a show at the High Noon Saloon, 701A E. Washington Ave., on Thursday night to coincide with the record’s release.
The record contains tight, fast-paced tunes loosely connected by lyrical themes of love and technology. The lively drumwork from Mike Newby, aggressive bass from Brian Blanchette and distorted guitar from Iliev blend into an up-tempo rock sound that at times evokes Red Hot Chili Peppers, and at others early indie garage rock like the Arctic Monkeys.
Iliev describes their music as “eclectic,” taking inspiration from Foo Fighters and ska bands. He’s confident they’ve hit a sonic groove that sets them apart.
“It’s so rare nowadays to have music that’s grounded in these sonic elements we’re talking about,” he said.
The band's eclectic sound may have to do with the band's eclectic makeup. Iliev, who was born in Bulgaria but who moved to Racine when he was a baby, met Newby and Blanchette in Madison after they responded to a Craigslist ad he posted seeking bandmates. Newby had recently moved to the area from New Jersey, while Blanchette was raised on a farm by Mineral Point, a site that the band continues to use as a rehearsal site, said Iliev.
The three have become close friends and musical partners, said Iliev.
“We have a really good chemistry,” he said. “On an intellectual level, we’re all in the same place.”
Iliev himself is at a life juncture: He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison earlier this month. However, he said that the Racing Pulses isn’t going anywhere. The band has been touring on the coasts, and recently performed for the famous indie music project Daytrotter in Iowa. Now that they’ve wrapped up work on their album, which they recorded at Madison’s Megatone Studios, Iliev said they’ll keep busy with more shows around the Midwest this summer.
That schedule begins with Thursday night’s show, which starts at 8 p.m. Blues musician Jake’O McCluskey will open.