HORSE The Band

Desperate Living

Written by: PP on 24/10/2009 18:39:36

HORSE The Band have always been crazy, but on their newest album "Desperate Living" they are literally fucking insane. There are more than a handful of passages where I'm left wondering whether the entire band should be reported to the authorities and shipped off to the nearest mental institution. You might've said the same after hearing a song like "The House Of Boo" or "Taken By Vultures" already on 2005's "The Mechanical Hand", but consider the following: on "Desperate Living"'s title track, the band first engages in a frenzy of 8-bit nintendo sounds (yes, they're back, BIG time) and ravaging scream-sessions, only to suddenly stop into a down-tuned, vibrating bass sound, followed by an echoing voice that reminds me of a crazy professor from any horror movie saying: "Human goals are like the numbers plumbed from the pipes of life....I'm a plumber, but what I plumb is the fruit of infinity...I'm deeper than infinite, I make infinity LOOK LIKE A FOUR!". Hahaha what? I laugh every time it comes on. That's not even the only spoken word passage on the record, in fact there are loads of them scattered around, and they're all equally nonsensical and make you really question about what the hell was going on in their heads when they wrote these songs.

If "A Natural Death" saw HORSE The Band experiment with death metallish sounds, almost a complete lack of melody and the 8 bit nintendocore the band is most famous for, then "Desperate Living" is a return to "R.Borlax" and "The Mechanical Hand" style sound, with maniac screaming mixed with sounds from the early Zelda games. The band have purposefully gone overboard with the nintendo sounds this time around, easily surpassing all of their earlier material in the total amount of crazy nerd melody. "The Failure Of All Things", for example, feels like you've just entered a Japanese rave party - halfway through the song they've even integrated the "final lap" sound from Mario Kart, followed by speeding up instrumentals. It's fucking great, I tell you. It's followed by "HORSE The Song", which is a perfect title for a song that's so fucking HORSE The Band it's unreal. From the get go, you're thrown into another Zelda soundscape with some really catchy screaming on top. "Science Police" is even stranger, as it sees HORSE The Band emulate today's electro-dance bands with an 8-bit melody instead. There's an unusual amount of clean vocals here, but it provides a much needed break from the menacing screams, because lets be honest here: the screams in HORSE have never been the most friendly kind to new listeners.

"Golden Mummy Golden Bird" provides yet another highlight on a record that's full of highlights. Most synth based bands sound like the two elements were just taped together, but there's a great flow in all HORSE The Band songs where you couldn't imagine the songs without the synths, particularly on this song. It's almost hardcore punk with its breakneck pace, but it shows just how good HORSE The Band are at writing killer guitar riffs and make the 8-bit synths fit to the song seamlessly. The crazy professor makes a return in the song with another nonsensical statement: "When the universe was born, doggy style, it was predetermined that i would have the free will to have no choice, my sovereignty was written, carved, or etched, in a stone's throw to the wind, the fortune (something) fate, it dwells me wherever my destiny goes", and straight after the band proceeds into strangely psychedelic ambiance for about a minute and a half while a guitar solo can be heard somewhere in the distance. It's so fucking strange, yet intriguingly ethereal, and it just works. I can't explain why, but it does.

Late in the album, "Big Business" brings more weirdness to the stage (well, there's a song called "Rape Escape", guess what that one is about, I love the desperate female screaming in that one), but also a chorus that's one of the catchiest HORSE The Band has written. I didn't even have to listen to the last two tracks to be convinced that "Desperate Living" is hands down the best HORSE The Band album to date. I may have graded "The Mechanical Hand" a 9, which I still stand by today, but much of that rating was for the sheer originality and shock-value that the album had. Artistically, "Desperate Living" is the band's finest output to date, and because they can make it sound so goddamn fun, strange, and awesome for the listener in the process, I can only bow in front of the band and say: welcome back, the purveyors of epic weirdness. And just to close off with a challenge to our readers: if you can find a stranger band than that depicted here on "Desperate Living", hit me up in the comments, but don't expect to find one.

Download: Desperate Living, HORSE The Song, Cloudwalker, Big Business
For the fans of: old school nintendo sounds in a hardcore/metalcore format, fun, things that sound so strange they can't be real
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.10.2009
Vagrant Records

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