On their fourth album and first with their new drummer, Pulled Apart By Horses continue to be one of the most consistently entertaining guitar bands in Britain.
For seven years and four albums, Leeds post-hardcore four-piece Pulled Apart By Horses have dealt in stripped-down rock thrills, moshpit fun and wonky stoner humour that has made them next in line to venerated cult heroes such as Future Of The Left. They dented the Top 40 the last time out with 2014’s Blood, but in the subsequent two and a half years, a little enforced hiatus and personnel shuffle has occurred. Founding drummer Lee Vincent amicably departed in 2015, but was kind enough to basically appoint his successor Tommy Davidson (previously of Dinosaur Pile-Up), telling fans on Twitter that the new guy was “gonna kick their dicks in”.
Pulled Apart By Horses have been a great live draw for years now, but capturing their lightning on studio record has always proved slightly elusive. As a general rule, their albums have always been more powerful when they sound chaotic and spontaneous, and for the most part The Haze channels all of the band’s strengths. The opening title track is the kinds of heads-down, straight-ahead, yell-along chorus that sticks closely to the PABH formula, and for the most part the album cleaves closely to this.
The splintering, progressive riff of ‘Prince Of Meats’ sees Davidson hold the spotlight with impressive drum fills; ‘Flash Lads’ contains some of the sly, sidelong sense of poking fun at the world around them that hallmarked their first album in a multi-tempo riot of fun; ‘My Evil Twin’ channels early Nirvana with its sleazy, primitive riffage. The title of closing track ‘Dumb Fun’ could read like a shorthand for PABH’s entire aesthetic – nimble, danceable and immensely enjoyable. Other entertaining highlights include ‘Neighbourhood Witch’ and the scuzzy ‘The Big What If’. Even the slower ‘Lamping’ growls and rumbles along nicely, even though it doesn’t play to the group’s strengths on paper.
They may be getting slightly more mature in their outlook, but four albums in, Pulled Apart By Horses still offer a dependable and refreshing tonic to the increasingly bland offerings served up by the mainstream. In terms of energy and enthusiasm alone, The Haze certainly kicks the dicks in of virtually everything else offered to us in terms of British ‘rock’ in the 2010s. (7/10) (Ed Biggs)
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Tags: album, Caroline, Ed Biggs, James Brown, Pulled Apart By Horses, review, Robert Lee, The Haze, Tom Hudson, Tommy Davidson
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