Saturday, 31 August 2019

Horsebeach "The Unforgiving Current" (2019)

Ive been eagerly anticipating this release. Two years back Beauty & Sadness blew me away, one of my favorites that year. I still fondly return to it, hence the anticipation. The Unforgiving Current continues in a similar vein, Post-Punk baselines drive breezy atmospheres echoing Indie & Psychedelic Rock. There is a closeness to Dream Pop in tone, a touch of Brit Pop and 80s vibes influencing chord progressions. Its a beautiful melting pot from which slow and soothing, inviting songs nurture its serene and sunny warmness. There is a vulnerable core, journey on the soft and expressive voices that filter in and out of focus.

Its unimposing presence makes for an easy, relaxed listening experience where one can indulge in its exotic tone. As the album unfolds, elements of R&B, Soul & Funk even present themselves subtly. Shimmering guitars ring out, creating swooning swirls of breezy color over the grooving baselines. The track Trust opens up with a chilling similarity to The Isley Bothers song Voyage To Atlantis, other songs to have echos of that classic era of mainly American music from the 70s and 80s.

The record follows a similar blueprint to its predecessor, the songs flow with similar temperaments and shifts in mood. There are tracks with drum machine and those without, its all very familiar territory. Deploying beautiful melodies and unfolding riffs, occasional burst of experimentation, the music does a lot to warm your soul but it falls short of being remarkable on the production front. In comparison they are both very similar records but the initial reaction to discovering a new sound to adore masked the obviously amatursih production and that became rather obvious this time around.

It starts with the baseline, a noticeable amount of clunk roughens up its presence and the drum strikes land a little cluttered in the presences of other instruments. Every now and then a drab and fuzzy distortion guitar rumbles in, bleeding into the other instruments and soaking up the fidelity. With a lot of reverberations at work the instruments mostly sound like they are recorded with a different sonic blueprint. When mixed together its comes off a bit disjointed. Perhaps I am nit picking, initially the low-fidelity was a charm but this time around its tame. Listening back to their older songs I think a noticeable shift to subtler styles of singing misses that element of a voice rising up above the melody to peak the vibes and hold your attention. Its a very enjoyable record but a noticeable step side ways, with the sound remaining in a familiar spot.

Favorite Tracks: The Unforgiving Current, Yuuki, Trust, Unlucky Strike
Rating: 7/10