After building a fearsome reputation on the back of their bruising and brilliant live performances, Pulled Apart By Horses release their self-titled debut full-length onto an expectant world in the hopes of ripping a big, beautiful hole out of 2010’s summer.
We begin with ‘Back To The Fuck Yeah’ as it patters into life. It’s an odd choice for an opener that doesn’t quite connect until the chorus kicks in. Once it drops however, it’s a struggle to stop yourself being sucked into its stomping, scuzzy charge into lightspeed. It’s the sound of party crasher recollections; of vomit ridden t-shirts telling tales of epic adventures and hazy memories from nights gone by. The scene is set for an album made for the summer months’ late nights to get up to no good with.
From the off the production approach is clear; highlight and polish the raw materials without buffing the life out of the beast. Gritty and crunching to the bite but always going down smooth, the guitars sound like liquid granite squirted onto a burning valve amp. Besides sounding like a water fight in dramatic slow-mo, ‘The Crapsons’ gives us our first proper introduction to the raging juggernaut of a bass sound coursing through this CD’s veins. Driving each track up to ever higher feats of feral intensity throughout, it roars and purrs like a chainsaw revving at Barry White’s favourite octave. The vocals are what you’d want and expect from an indie-rock hardcore band mutant freak; raw, rough and ready to sink their teeth in for the kill. ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ is all about the fast/slow dynamic and the drums batter the message home to stunning effect. Across the album the skins sound tight with the cymbals shattering like glass smashed over the head of an unloved one.
The first of the debutants, ‘Yeah Buddy’, feels like a surfed up cock-rock concoction fused by some mad scientist with the shrieking chorus of a Eurovision contender. Somehow, it works and sets the scene nicely for the band’s calling card; ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’. It’s all about the stink kicked up by the riff and the chorus line, and is impossible not to get caught up in. If the first 2 minutes don’t get you, the gigantic ending will. ‘I’ve Got A Guestlist To Rory O’Hara’s Suicide’ is no easy listening picnic either. Refusing to rest in its sibling song’s slipstream, it comes out swinging with fist shaped bombs aimed at your face, spitting out even more venom than its big cat punching predecessor.
‘Get Off My Ghost Train’, with its gloomy swagging aplomb sounds like it could be the theme music to some Yorkshire based Michael Bay cop show adrenaline-a-gasm. However, beneath its confident strutting exterior it feels somehow hollow and disconnected from the edge-of-your-seat urgency that practically oozes from the rest of the album as if it were coasting on the accelerator pedal. The problems with ‘Meat Balloon’ are more a question of taste rather than actual quality. This version is a different animal to the one last seen on its own EP. It feels slightly defanged in favour of a few more licks of production paint and guitar after touches that take away as much in terms of vivid immediacy as they add in development. It is still the same great track.
The last three tracks are each a unique parting shot; the withering desert-rock-core of ‘Moonlight Talons’ is one of the high points of the album as a whole whilst the more familiar sounds of ‘The Lighthouse’ throws its weight and feet around like a funky, violent hoodlum. ‘Den Horn’ is the Sabbath inspired ending credits that refuse to go quietly, rising up like some giant lizard monster to terrorize the good people of Leeds with stoner born mass destruction.
This is a debut album built on the tried and tested live regulars of ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’, ‘Back To The Fuck Yeah’ and the like, with a few dashes of new blood to keep things fresh and hungry. Pulled Apart By Horses is the sound of long hot days soaked in litres of Bourbon with scuffed knees, sunburn and your best friends all collapsing into one big sticky heap. It’s not going to change the game instead, it’s gonna make you stop caring about playing it and instead get messy for all the right reasons.
Written by Greg Johnson
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.