Tuesday, 13 May 2014

REVIEW: Horse Party - 'Cover Your Eyes' (Integrity Records)

The debut album from Suffolk-based trio Horse Party is a treat for those who like ragged guitars, sultry vocals and bags of attitude. After admiring their musical output for a while, it was a surprise to learn that band member Seymour Quigley was formerly the frontman of Miss Black America, a name I remember vaguely from the John Peel show years ago. Surprising because I assumed all the members of Horse Party were just getting started in the music world. Not because they're sloppy or amateur in any way, but because of the hungry energy and vigour that bursts out of their songs. 

After causing a buzz over recent years with a string of top quality singles, it's good to see that the band have made sure they're all present here. They've definitely earned their place too, as the raw, infectious pounding of the opening 'Back To Mono' shows. Inciting vibes and the savvy power of Ellie Langley's soulful, taking-no-shit vocals gift tracks like the funk-tinged 'Clarion Call' with a real fire, while grunge, lo-fi and blues flavour the sound of the moodily emotional 'Scarlet And Blue' and the superb 'What Do You Need', a raucous, swaggering moment of brilliance with shades of PJ Harvey. The aforementioned influence also finds it's way into the slow building, but ultimately hard biting 'Six'.


A major highlight of this LP comes in the form of the magnificent 'Inbetween', where atmospheric guitars and tumbling rhythms explode into magnificent, angry colours. It falls somewhere between the post-rock soundscapes of Thought Forms and the harmonious melodies of Yuck, a group whose sound is also echoed on the slightly lightweight US college rock of 'Let The Man Die', the album's weakest moment and (due to Quigley switching to vocals) an unwelcome disruption of the identity that Langley's authoritive voice establishes elsewhere. After all the guitar thrashing, it's a pleasant surprise to hear the record close with the honeyed acoustic swoon of 'To Know You Less', which shows a more tender side to the band's character.

At just over 30 minutes in length and comprising eight accessible, often exciting tracks, 'Cover Your Eyes' doesn't take long to listen to, and strongly encourages to give it another play right after the last track has come to an end. And since a few of these numbers are growers rather than instant winners, giving half an hour to this LP every so often will reap rewards in the long run. 7.9/10






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