THOSE FAMILIAR with this blog will be aware of Porky’s affinity with the musical outpourings of Bury St Edmunds in the heart of largely rural West Suffolk.
This is a town of contrasts, but the kids have never been as deep-hearted conservative as their peers with a 20-minute drive to Cambridge offering a route to the student and underground music and culture landscape of that esteemed regional capital.
A product of Bury is Horse Party which was formed at one of Seymour Quigley’s club nights after his ear-bashing Ten City Nation trio broke up. Horse Party’s debut album, Cover Your Eyes, came out to a smattering of applause in 2014 including on this here site (https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/vote-horse-party/).
Now comes Horizons, a 13-track mop-up job on R*E*P*E*A*T Records, that collects two 7”singles, various download-only releases and one unreleased track from the past 12 months.
While Cover Your Eyes was a fine debut it did also reek of filler-ism, with some tracks falling below the required standard. Maybe it’s the short-term thrill of focusing on just a couple or three tracks at time where HP are at their best as the singles and some of the B-sides sound crunchily glorious.
Most compilations are annoyingly in random order, but Horizons is chronologically logical: from the beginning of 2015 to January just past. That permits the listener to grasp the ever-changing nature of the trio as the months went by. As the album progresses the mood gets darker (“we could drown if you like”) and there’s a feeling the frenetic, buzzsaw format is gradually being dispatched.
So, Out of Sight, the A-side from a year ago, bristles with pugnaciousness, its corruscating lyrics aimed at someone with faults aplenty. Ellie Langley’s vocals are perfect for this type of brusk, radio-unfriendly sound, but its partner, Receiver ,sees Quigley take the lead role, which seems more appropriate for such a stroppy track.
Paydirt and its complementary B-sides Animal and October continue this abrasive outlook, grinding guitars assaulting the senses, drums pounding the inner tissue; Animal in particular is magnificent in delivering a cohesive force in anger-harmony.
Nevertheless, the Money Talks EP sees a sudden, unwelcome dip in form of Jordan Speith proportions. There’s no beating about the bush here; it’s fundamentally lame, the title track telling us something we all know. But it does contain the exceptionally beautiful anthem for lost souls everywhere, Looking For Life, with Langley sounding like she’s easing into her role as frontwoman.
I appreciate relatively new acts releasing compilations so early in their careers; much of this is hard to get, spread over five separate issues in various guises plus an unreleased track I would have to assume wouldn’t see the light of day otherwise. I can only assume this is a stop-gap to newer material later in the year, rather than an admittance that the act is stuck in a rut.