Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Horseback : "Dead Ringers"

Things have continued to evolve for this one man project out of Chapel Hill. The guitar sound that made the album "Half Blood" is dialed back and doesn't appear until three minutes into the first song. It is well played and this time around have grown into more of an "Obscured By Clouds" like sound. Which coming from me is high praise as next to "Animals" its one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums. Guitar leads off the title track to invoke a sound that will comfort fans of the projects earlier work. The 70s synths still haunt the song like a soundtrack from an early 80s lo-budget horror movie. The vocals take on a darker whisper. The synths go full on kraut rock when it's time for them to take a solo.

If you are going to drone, this is the way to do it as layers weave in and out of these hypnotic jams. It's back to the space age as the drugs really kick in for "A Bolt From the Blue" to help solidify this as one of the year's best albums to do drugs to. The vocals begin to make me think of Psychic TV.  They are a little less androgynous and a little more indie rock. There are less layers to this one. The last vestiges of metal seem to have been shed on this album. There is a more fuzzed out guitar tone on "the Cord Itself", but it is far from being heavy. He takes his time actually developing this one in a song and instead opts to indulge more in bathing you in the sound. "Lionkiller" is a more formed song and catches an appealing dreamy groove. The first song that has a more rock edge to it is "In Another Time..." then there is the drifting daydream of "Larkspur" that reminds me of a more chilled out version of the "Half Blood" era.

The almost 17 minute "Descended From the Crown" closes the album. The hushed vocals come in  behind the jammy atmosphere of the guitar. It fuddles and bubbles around for the duration. While the first thing was easy to write off as an interlude, when you devote over 16 minutes to something you are committed to it.I'll around this album up to an 8 , even though no hints of metal are anywhere near it. This album sounds good and if I still did drugs I would find it even more impressive. Not something in my current phase of life I would put in regular rotation, but it still needs to be acknowledged for the piece of work it is.


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