An Horse : Walls

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/anhorsewalls.jpg" alt="An Horse : Walls" />Wherever they're from, An Horse has put out another strong album. ...
An Horse : Walls
7.8 Mom & Pop
2011 

An Horse : Walls Though they hail from Brisbane, Queensland in Australia, An Horse feel more like they’re from Wales.  Perhaps its singer/guitarist Kate Cooper’s voice, which sounds more like Cerys Matthews of actually Welsh Catatonia than PM Julia Gillard or a female Bruce.  Perhaps it’s because, though a guitar-and-drums duo, An Horse doesn’t sound like the million-and-one garage-rock guitar-and-drums duos out there, but rather more akin to north Wales’ The Joy Formidable (QRO live review).  Perhaps it’s because they got some success and notice early, including opening for Canada’s Tegan & Sara (QRO spotlight on) before their first LP came out – like Wales’ Los Campesinos! (QRO spotlight on), who got attention and opened for Canadian all-stars Broken Social Scene (QRO spotlight on) on only the back of debut EP, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (QRO review).  Perhaps it’s because Queensland is the Wales of Australia – it’s there, but nobody else in the country goes there, save for the Brisbane area, like how Brits only visit around Cardiff in Wales.  Whatever the reason, it makes for a better brand of indie-rock on Walls.

Admittedly much like their 2009 debut Rearrange Beds, Walls sticks to An Horse’s indie-rock formula for good reason, as the duo balances key indie-rock ingredients well.  Most notable is the pressure on such tracks as "Airport Death", "Train and Tracks", "Walls", and "Leave Me", which doesn’t dominate – they’re not simply a road-speed band like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (QRO live review) – but provides a strong backbone.  Meanwhile, there’s a resigned but slightly ominous air – or ominous but slightly resigned air – to "Not Mine", stop-start "Brain On a Table", and reduced "Windows In the City".

Some elements are used more sparsely, to better or worse effect.  The higher first half of "Know This, We’ve Noticed" doesn’t work with the more rocking back half, but the heights come in better on the pressing rock of "Walls" and "Leave Me".  The stop-start to "Brain On a Table" is a little overused, but the following "100 Whales" goes grander for a more emotionally expressive song.  And final numbers "Swallow the Sea" and "Tiny Skeletons" are both more of a sad, wistful sway – and both grow into something bigger, yet provide a nice change to close out the record.  Given the similarity to Rearrange Beds, the new styles in those two and the title track are welcome, though maybe An Horse could have done more of that on Walls itself.

When people think of Australia, they usually think either of the vast expanse that is the Outback, or the cities & beaches & people of the southeast who put shrimp on the barbie – just as Great Britain is usually either the windswept castles and moors or the cosmopolitan post-industrial cities.  It was a Welsh band (QRO interview) that compared forgotten Wales to that forgotten part of North America, Canada – so extend the comparison to Queensland.  And it was another Welsh band that sang about "Mulder & Scully", while An Horse references Twin Peaks in "Not Mine".  But wherever they’re from, An Horse has put out another strong album.

MP3 Stream: "Not Mine"

{audio}/mp3/files/An Horse – Not Mine.mp3{/audio}

Categories
Album Reviews
  • Anonymous
    at
  • No Comment

    Leave a Reply