Desolation Horse “Biff”

Independent, 2023

Sparkly, indie Americana with heart and echoes of Laurel Canyon.

Artwork for Desolation Horse album 'Biff'Opening with the delightful ‘Good Boy 2’ this album is a softly spoken joy. There are hints of Fountains of Wayne, Sparklehorse and even Eels here as the track unfolds with supple vocals, upfront guitar and harmonies from the top drawer as well as an earworm of a melody. ‘Halo’ is similar with all the noted traits intact as well as spoken/sung narration and the swelling chorus.

Founded and helmed by one Cooper Trail, a session drummer, the album reflects his roots by… ahem… rooting each track in a very precise beat and rhythm allowing the vocals and leading instruments to become more playful and adventurous. ‘Haircut’ is a prime example of this as everything is held together by the beat as guitars and layered harmonies fly all over the place. And what sunny harmonies they are. This is Teenage Fanclub through a Dukes of Stratosphere prism with a 90s American indie sensibility, if you can imagine such a thing.

‘Swimming’ features an insistent, pulsing bass line and a production sheen that almost makes it a dance track. It builds and builds all the way to an 80s synth style solo without losing its heart or shape held together by the great hook and the sardonic vocals. ‘Salt’ features some tight drumming and pared-down instrumentation that always hints at explosion and just expands into a modern, driving pop song before obliging in spectacular style with repeated chorus and a feedback-drenched guitar solo. Lovely stuff. Lead single ‘Stupid’ is a big, sad ballad held together by scraped strings and piano with feedback lurking in the background and Cooper Trail beating himself up for his own stupidity for letting someone go. It finishes with a harp and a lush harmonic chorus. Affecting and brief it expands the palette of the album beautifully. And so the album continues along its merry way pushing envelopes and holding the listener tight right to the last note.

If you like whip-smart indie pop, this is for you. If you like melody and harmonies, this is for you. If you miss the Fountains of Wayne, this is for you. If you like great music, this is for you. Highly recommended.

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9/10
9/10

About Keith Hargreaves 345 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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High Horse

Thankyou Americana UK!