Release Date: Apr 26, 11
No, An Horse is not a grammar slip-up that’s considered acceptable in Australia. Unless you ask Kate Cooper, vocalist and guitarist for the duo. Alongside drummer Damon Cox, the Brisbane natives release Walls, an album akin to a Now, Now take on their earlier release. Sometimes the music can seem a little too consistently simple for what feels like an abyss of potential for devastating rhythms. But there are at least two lines within each track that feels almost a little too close to personally true for each listener, like a fortune cookie that turns out to be right. Except it’s already happening.
Remember An Horse’s previous popular track amongst indie music bloggers, “Postcards”? Consider this the kid sister version 2.0. “Dressed Sharply” has the usual plugged-in guitar chugging and steady drum, impromptu stopping, and a theme of writing. As if remembering their past success, Cooper opens up with the lines “I have nothing new to tell you/ since the last time that I wrote/ but I know with certainty that/ your hands will get this note.” Thumbs up for track one.
Cooper’s Aussie-accent comes through clearly on the string-inclusive “Not Mine,” her babied lack of the letter “r” and loftily stretched-out “i”s. Referencing summer not being itself, geographical placement to the right of far north, and cherry pie, she automatically pulls together the smart combination of writing personal lyrics with a mass-appealing coating (or undertone). This is a track about words and less about music. I admit, maybe the Twin Peaks reference alone sold me.
Title track “Walls” is not intense or even as plugged-in as previous tracks. But “all” is pronounced as “ool” which firstly draws in my attention. Then I realize there are a few words I can’t even be certain of – is Cooper singing “song” or “all”? Does it really make a difference in the end? Then as the obscure lyrics, from head bleeding to nose bleeding, come to a multi-layered echo of the final line (“just sit tight/ it’ll be alright”) there’s a reverberating desire to loop the track after it fades out.
“Brain On a Table” keeps the intensity on low for the first minute before giving a hint at what’s to come a few verses later, with deep-rumbling drums and dark electricity. Is that Cox shouting in sporadic bursts ever-so-faintly in the background? Then the meaning comes out, and it isn’t about simply waking someone up for the day: “please wake up/ and my brain nearly leapt out of my chest/ when they opened yours up/ and my heart/ nearly jumped out of my head/ when they said that yours might stop.” I am humbled and pleased in a slightly upset way at the same time.
Starting out with Cooper’s typical blatant jabs at crooning quirks forlornly coupled with just a few guitar strums, “Tiny Skeletons” employs Cox’s voice as harmony at the same time as his drumming comes in to keep the tempo. Thus closes the album. If I’m not lying, it feels a little like I’m haunted – not in a Hospice sort of owning of my mind, but in a way that lingers heavily on my heart.