Hailing from Australia, An Horse consists of Damon Cox and Kate Cooper who give off the impression of more than a two-part band. Two-part they are, and on this sophomore effort they don’t reach much further than that of Rearrange Beds, but as a fan of this band, I don’t see how this is any negative qualm. If anything, Walls has a more mature sound, while holding on to that edge-y pop sound that made them stand out in the first place.
The first song, “Dressed Sharply,” begins this album out with the edge and twang that this band is based around. Hard edged guitar floods the song with the bitterness, and combines with the lead vocals of Cooper, that is only juxtaposed slightly with faint oohs in the background. It gets you started on quite the raw note, but then “Not Mine” follows, slowing things down and changing the sound to somber instead of sharp. It is here that you can feel overtones of recent events in Cooper’s life in her lyrics. Her songwriting reflects her struggles of being on tour while a family member was ill back at home. While it must have been a painful time in her life, the writing feels intricate and mature; probably some of her best.
Some more standout tracks can be found on the title track as well as on “100 Whales.” “Walls” softens up things a little, but the Australian drawl doesn’t let it turn into mushy fest, while “100 Whales” waivers somewhere in the middle of outlandish and minimal, becoming one of the most balanced and even-headed tracks on the whole album.
Up to this point, there isn’t a bad song on Walls; each has been interesting and enjoyable. That being said, the last three songs of the album just dissipate. Something that started out fairly strong withers to a sadly boring end. It feels like this band just gave up and in light of this, the rest of the album is flattened. What could have been something fantastic turns out as something just good. Instead of ending on a high note, An Horse doesn’t go anywhere with their songs that make up the listeners last impression.
Despite being left disappointed, it’s still safe to say that the majority of this album is enjoyable. Have a listen, but perhaps just skip the last bit.
Download: An Horse – Trains and Tracks [MP3]