Horse Heaven

by Liam McManus

29 April 2012

cover art


Horse Heaven

US: 11 Jan 2011

Another band in the vein of Jesus & Mary Chain and their ilk. Simple songs that are more interested in painting a soundscape through the use of feedback and weird effects rather than pushing any compositional boundaries. Sparse instrumentation, male-female vocals, acoustic guitars gently strumming minor key chords progressions while distorted electric guitars swoop in and stomp the song into submission. There are even occasional flashes of folky music, with splashes of slide guitar and the intermittent county-ish groove on songs like “Grave Blanket”. The result comes off sounding like an even more shoegaze-y version of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or the Ravonettes—more shoegaze-y as a result of the handful of pills they just swallowed. It mostly works, especially on songs like “Dream Out” and “Enabler”. Other songs tend to go too far into a bummed-out, dour direction, like “Spirit Birds” with its spoken-word section and “Strangers”, a song that drifts without landing.

Which is not to say this is a bad album, it’s actually largely pleasant; as simplistic as the songs themselves may be, the individual elements combine to make them quite pleasant, especially the way the two vocalists complement each other. The song melodies are not complicated, but they are nice and they are hummable, so what more do you really need?

There isn’t anything groundbreaking here; if you like the bands mentioned above then you’ve most certainly heard this kind of music before. However, it is still rather enjoyable. It’s like wrapping yourself up in a big black blanket in a tent in the woods, warming yourself up enough to stop shivering but coming just shy of being able to drift off to sleep, leaving you in a paralytic haze. Maybe that’s your thing.

The CD versions also contains the early EP “Yellow Life Giver”, four songs that are pretty unremarkable and basically serve as embryonic versions of the type of music that they made on their full-length.

Horse Heaven


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