BioCraig Klein and Kevin Duneman became The Race long ago, back when they were still haunting the Iowa City sprawl. Originally a raucous duo, the band was simultaneously trying to harness and unleash its more avant-garde tendencies. A couple of years later, the band took passage to Chicago. Soon after recording their first album, Chicago Ruins Everything, new environs and new sensibilities began to take hold of the music. The jittery austerity that once was The Race began to drift away. It was replaced by layers of programmed beats over live drums, the addition of more guitars and a shift toward song structures with distinct pop elements. The end result of this new direction was the band’s first proper release, The Perfect Gift. It was with this record that the band first began to balance its experimental instability with lush beauty.
In the summer of 2000, while Kevin was in Bloomington, IN recording with Ativin (Interiors, Secretly Canadian), Craig came to town to play a show. Steve Art, along for the ride, played bass that night. He has played every show since, quickly making the switch to handling the keyboards, guitars, and backing vocals in the band. Shortly after the release of The Perfect Gift, Jeremy Parker, Craig’s childhood friend, signed on to play bass. Ultimately, Steve and Jeremy would become an integral part of the band’s evolving sound. They were the final pieces of a puzzle that Kevin and Craig had begun assembling years ago.
In late 2003, with more than 20 songs completed, The Race approached electronic duo Telefon Tel Aviv to help produce a new record. Self-admitted studio-perfectionists and highly acclaimed for their electronic composition, Telefon jumped at the opportunity to work on a group of songs that were raw yet completely written. Over the course of two months, The Race and Telefon broke down the music to its essential elements and then began to build it back up again. The Race’s preference for simple song structures and dynamically powerful writing, combined with the exquisite production of Telefon Tel Aviv, has resulted in the stunningly beautiful If You Can - an album that shows a band ready to make its mark.