It seems like a very long time go now that I witnessed the wild, boozy explosion of noise at The Brudenell in Leeds, which was the launch gig for Pulled Apart by Horses’ debut album. The buzz around the band – especially that night – was incredible. It was also clear that this was just a bunch of guys having fun making a racket. They certainly didn’t seem like a career band. But that was 2010, and here they are in 2017 with album number four.
Although they’ve got a whole lot bigger over the last six years, with ‘The Blood’ breaking the top 40, there’s a sense that the last two albums have failed to capture the frantic intensity that. It seems to be something the band themselves recognise, and ‘The Haze’ is very much an attempt to get back to their roots.
“Basically,” says vocalist/guitarist Tom Hudson, “we wanted to go with our guts and fuck everyone else.” Written in ten days in rural Wales, away from all distractions, they’ve rediscovered their fire, and in Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys/MIA/Drenge), they’ve found a sympathetic producer.
The title tracks kicks things off with a jagged bass and thumping drumming, and what new drummer Tommy Davidson (formerly of These Monsters) contributes to the songs is noteworthy, with a solid and energetic style that drives the chunky guitars. The riffs are direct, choppy, and there’s bounce – and an element of the bratty swagger that permeated the first album – to tracks like ‘Hotel Motivation’. There’s a strong sense of melody, and almost a party feel to this album, but it’s noisy fun, with Hudson making good use of his distinctive screamy/shouty vocals. Lurching tempo changes are back, giving the songs an unpredictable edge and evidencing the band’s move away from the ‘safer’ song structures they’d been developing.
Being older and more experienced, there is a certain refinement about ‘The Haze’ which isn’t present on their debut but ‘Flash Lads’ and ‘What’s up Dude’ recall the brilliant, brash dumbness of old songs like ‘Yeah Buddy’ and ‘Back to the ‘Fuck Yeah.’ Elsewhere, ‘Prince of Meats’ has more of a Queens of the Stone Age vibe, working a low-slung groove, and ‘Moonbather’ is more like Pop Will Eat Itself than anything else, although it’s less about comparisons and more about illustrating the diversity of the styles they’ve packed into ‘The Haze’. ‘The Haze’ is the sound of a band enjoying being a band: it has attack, and at times feels dangerous. It’s exhilarating, fresh and finally sees the band deliver the album fans from back when have been waiting for.
Pulled Apart By Horses Online