March 5, 2009

An Horse - Rearrange Beds
Verdict: Love (<)

I wish I actually could say I had a sixth sense about albums, but that's nothing more than a fantasy of mine. When I see names of bands, or album covers that are particularly interesting, I usually think that the music is also good. There is no conclusive evidence that this is in any way, shape, or form, true, which makes sense. However, I think to myself that I've got a good run with these things, because I only remember when I was spot on, and forget when my intuition was wrong.

I got lucky with An Horse's new album Rearrange Beds, because I love their name in all its grammatically horrific glory, and the cover art just draws me in. I'm lucky because the album is just fantastic.

The first thing that stood out to me was how well mixed the album is. It's like audible butter it's so slick and smooth and pleasing. Everything sounds so organic it "insert cliche here." The next big thing that really struck me was that the songs are kind of oddly constructed, or, at least, sound like it, but they still come across as undeniable pop songs that you find yourself wanting to sing along to before the first listen is over. Damon Cox, drummer, is one of the best drummers I've heard in a while, which says a lot. What I mean isn't that he's the fastest, or can do polyrhythmic beats with each of his body parts, but that he understands what kind of drum beat works for the song, which is the biggest challenge for a drummer. He's clearly quick as bullets (as is evident in the rolls he performs on occasion), but it never feels like it's too much. Kate Cooper (vocals/guitar) reminds me of Tegan and Sara pretending to be John Darnielle (the mountain goats) with vocal stylings similar to Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs). That's not to say she doesn't sound exactly like herself, but that's the best way I can describe her unique style. And that's it, there're no other members, which I actually just found out as I began writing this, which, to me, says that the two put out so much life that they sound like a 4 piece at least. The album is, by all standards that I can think of, full of vivacity and just entertaining as hell.

That said, by about track 6 I get a little bogged down by the style, and I find myself kind of zoning out. But, that said, track 7 brings it down a notch, making the inevitable return to style and rise in emotion much more powerful, which is just a very smart move. The second half of the album, on a whole, is slower and more melodic than the first, which makes it a little lopsided. Other than those nit-picks, it's a solid album. It's no blockbuster, but it's a solid foundation for a band that clearly has the knowhow, and the elbow grease, to lead us to a new land.

An Horse - Postcards
An Horse - Little Lungs (removed by request)
An Horse - Horizons(removed by request)

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