Artist: Pulled Apart By Horses
Record Label: Best of the Best/Sony/RED
Release Date: 1st September 2014
Leeds noiseniks, Pulled Apart By Horses are often associated with being a band of jokers, a unit that revel with the application of a tongue firmly placed in the cheek; who else would call tracks ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’, ‘E=MC Hammer’ and most recently, ‘ADHD in HD’. In summary, these Yorkshire lads are a bunch of goofballs, or so we are led to believe. Taking past albums as milestones, their self-titled debut and sophomore LP ‘Tough Love’ were both smash and grab affairs, aural ram-raids hell-bent on wanton destruction, powered by savage riffery, caustic vocals and pneumatic drumming, Now on the eve of the four piece’s third effort, ‘Blood’ an evolved collective of steeds stand before us, the tuneage is still face-melting but a more considered approach appears to be a mainstay in ‘Blood’s acerbic DNA. Queens of the Stone Age are a key reference point of late and PABH have turned their native Leeds into a sprawling arid wasteland, somewhere fit for Josh Homme and the gang to roam; furrows are marked out by unrelenting grooves, a horror-movie tension ripples through opening gambit “Hot Squash” and a more assured, less frantic PABH have their hands gripped tightly around the reins of their third record. Saddle up partners, your ‘Blood’ transfusion awaits…
On the first spins of PABH’s latest document of murky rock ‘n’ roll, a seed of doubt is planted – has the raging, chaotic rock of before been replaced by mid-paced homage to QOTSA? A half listen would provide an uncertain yes, but immerse yourself in ‘Blood’s viscous membrane and you’ll discover a rich soundscape of textures, shifting dynamics and a claustrophobic conceptual feel that’s pure Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The worrying notion with a band such as PABH is, come album three, there’s a natural urge to drop the pace and the punishing impact of what has come before. In the aspect of ‘Blood’ the first three tracks could raise alarm bells to those with a short attention span, the previously mentioned ‘Hot Squash’, ‘ADHD in HD’ and recent single ‘Lizard Baby’ saunter instead of sprint, this is PABH combining the dusty rock of QOTSA with Foo Fighter’s widespread appeal, topped off by the band’s own brand of barbed noise. But once the LP rolls out as a whole, the unearthing of the feral ‘You Want It’ illustrates the new depths PABH can mine from. ‘You Want It’ works as a perfect conduit between PABH from back in the day and the more – dare we say it – grown up model that wants to rattle our skulls right now. Gone are the drawn out, sludgy moments and in their place, a frantic, hardcore punk aping sound that’s all unkempt and will more than likely piss on your toilet seat. Plus, there’s an insane breakdown of frazzled fretwork and jarring bass, that’s unadulterated moshpit fodder in the waiting. ‘Bag of Snakes’ follows as ‘Blood’s most dysfunctional moment akin to capturing the aural equivalent of cinematic torture a la Saw; this is one feral beast.
With the part comedic tag PABH have been bestowed, witnessing the Leeds boys progress whilst maintaining their core sound is testament to the musicianship that’s gone into ‘Blood’ – sweat and tears have also been poured into the album’s discordant melting pot too. As a unit, it’s evident the quartet have stepped it up a notch, vocalist Tom Hudson matches is acidic howl with a deep, menacing growl, there isn’t a song where Robert Lee’s basslines don’t making a rip-cracking contribution and Lee Vincent’s drumming provokes rhythmic earthquake tremors. Equally, the duelling guitar scree of Hudson and James Brown – not that one! – wraps all these components together in a shiny but oh-so grubby bow.
‘Blood’s development pushes PABH towards arena rock territories albeit the group’s sonic maelstrom is being belched out of the urine soaked toilets. ‘Medium Rare’s meaty shtick cooks up something anthemic but definitely not anaemic. Plus there’s a riff that has ‘Foxy Lady’ written all over it, provoking a hip thrusting sauciness. Album curtain call, ‘Golden Monument’ again finds PABH plunging their teeth into enormodome rock proving that Muse’s epic vibes have rubbed off on their former tour partners but any tendencies towards spaceships or lizardmen mind control have stayed reverberating around the walls of Wembley Stadium.
It’s easy for a unit to dilute their wares for radio play but in tweaking their formula, the four horsemen from Leeds are coming for you - Trojan Horse style.