Pulled Apart By Horses

Blood

Written by: TL on 17/12/2014 19:10:35

It's just about that time of year were every article starts with some variety of "New Years Eve is drawing near", and this one is no exception as the demise of 2014 means that we're just about done with the last albums to be released in 2014, and so might as well try to patch up some holes in our archives from earlier in the year. Cue a band like Pulled Apart By Horses, who first made themselves known to us via a kickass live set at Roskilde Festival 2011, yet were almost totally overlooked when they played a severely under-promoted gig in Copenhagen this year, and whose third album "Blood" has indeed also sat consistently at the back of the line for a review here.

So why then, is a sense of obligation to our archives the main reason that "Blood" even gets reviewed at all? Well, it's because Pulled Apart By Horses are a good example of a band whose "smash-all, pull grimaces and jump off tall things" -style live set and nonsensical yet badass song titles about punching lions helped them make a striking first impression, yet lost their novelty quicker than a cheap firecracker. The band's sound is characterised by relatively steady tempos that serve mainly as backbones for the guitars, which churn and wail with the kind of garage-y noise that wants to tell you that the Leeds quartet believes in rock'n'roll as a force of rawness and grime. The vocals are limited to hysterical yet low singing and hysterical high shouting, and historically, the group's highlights have come when they've repeated their most remarkable refrains after leaping from said lows to said shouts (see "I Punched A Lion In The Throat" and "High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive").

On "Blood", the band seems to have discovered a need for branching out, and as such, there are now nuances of dusty stoner-guitar alá Queens Of The Stone Age, and of hazy, grunge-anarchy which brings to mind Nirvana and Alice In Chains. In places, some harmonised vocals bear resemblance to the fellow Brits and similarly QOTSA-inspired Arctic Monkeys, but there's a far cry between AM's laid back coolness and Pulled Apart's spiteful, rioting attitude.

To be clear though, these nuances are a positive, and "Blood" should be remembered by casual Pulled Apart followers as the album that at least gave some signs of hope that the band could find their way out of artistic standstill. But that being said, through the album's twelve tracks of trying to write their own "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Millionaire", the qualities rarely appear above a basic, neanderthal, garage-rock level. The production is crisp and professional, and a song like "Medium Rare" is a good place to observe the sparks of life, while "Lizard Baby" and album closer "Golden Monument" are the catchiest tracks - as you'll likely recognise if you find yourself at one of their shows - but especially the intermediate is a clear cut example of how quickly you start to feel brain dead if you even do get started with singing along to the chorus.

It is fortunate then, that there are those in the world that will laud Pulled Apart By Horses for continuing to make rock'n'roll by a noisy, punk-ish code, and for continuing to champion what's raw and dirty in the genre. The truth is though, that the strokes of genius you're reminded off when tracing the group's influences make their own attempts appear thoroughly banal in comparison, and it would be a hard sell to convince anyone to not phase "Blood" out of rotation after about a week or so.

Download: Lizard Baby, Golden Monument
For The Fans Of: Queens Of The Stone Age, Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys
Listen: facebook.com/pulledapartbyhorses

Release date 01.09.2014
Self-released

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