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Gregory Scott Slay

Horsethief Beats

(Communicating Vessels; US: 18 Oct 2011; UK: 14 Nov 2011)

Horsethief Beats is an affair of family and friends in Gregory Scott Slay’s life. Incorporating his wife, child and father, with Jeffrey Cain at the soundboard, the product is something that feels quite brief and slightly unfinished, but is fascinating nonetheless. I was expecting something in the Americana or folk vein, yet was pleasantly surprised to find an atmospheric album full of strong rhythms, which sometimes border on hip-hop beats, resembling a modern update of Peter Gabriel’s earlier solo work, or a more melodic, less experimental TV on the Radio. The record title is listed in numerous places, including its physical spine, as Horsethief Beats / The Sound Will Find You, and the sound will indeed find you. After beginning with an instrumental short that includes his young son’s cooing, listeners are immediately grasped by the first proper track “Keep It Secret”. Later, the refreshingly not annoying spoken-word of “Visit With a Snowman” pulls you in again with a lyrical structure that plays in a Tom Waits/Sparklehorse/hip-hop fashion. Overall, the unique rhythms and compelling sounds of Horethief Beats make it a keeper.

Rating:

Stephen Rowland has been founding and contributing to numerous underground film and music publications for the last 12 years. In addition to critiquing images and sounds, he makes no money as a regional historian and preservationist, co-authoring "Postcard History Series: Alameda" and "Images of America: Alameda," available from Arcadia Publishing.


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