Behold A Pale Horse by Behold A Pale HorseRelease date: January 18, 2018
Label: Eggs in Aspic
Whether they derived their name from conspiracy theorist Milton William Cooper, or it was taken from the 1964 Gregory Peck film, Behold A Pale Horse could easily flit between a conspiratorial agenda to one of pre anarchy simply based on the looseness of their music. Channelling a distinct attitude reminiscent of layabout Manc’s Happy Mondays (and weren’t they just the bees knees when it came to a loose fit), the Tyne & Wear five piece pigeon pick genre conventions of psych, kraut and funk to create a heady stew of dark noise.
Steeped in the industrial grind and tear of a working class existence, the band sound as if they are messianic overlords of their street, all emblazoned in scowls of black, head in the stars, awaiting escape from a mundane existence. It’s the sound of urban petrification, casting their dice with the wear and tear of Ian Curtis and regaling it with a funky backbeat. The Lucid Dream understand this, the need to be yourself, and to wear your identity as a badge of honour with the only reason for making music is that urge inside to create, and to create something that moves forward from the rocks that bear it down. You may hear the influences, but you will also hear the progression.
Behold A Pale Horse may come out all guns blazing with the self titled opening track, striking a keen sense of foreboding within that Joy Division meets baggy beats sound. It’s a beguiling mix of straight-edged indie rock set against something just under the surface that niggles, some sort of thing which urges the music to open out into new pastures. It’s looseness, but its also a”tightness” holding it together, not quite letting go, leading us into the stuttering urgent ‘United Souls’.
The turning point is on ‘All The Rain’ when the monochrome existence burgeons into a glorious technicolour orchestral harmonic surrounding. It’s a mid-section which elevates the band from rather exciting to must hear, and one senses that this was all part of the master-plan anyway. From here on in Behold A Pale Horse blossom into a darkened apocalypse of bleak glamour, with ‘She Said’ not being a million miles removed from Suede at their pomp on Dog Man Star. It’s a comparison in feeling alone though, as this band have a much more psychedelic outlook on life. For these there is no damp bedsit, instead we have music which reaches out of the industrial towns to the heavens as the climax of ‘She Said’ spreads its wings into a furious beats of psych glory.
By the time we hit ‘Rube’ they sound like a band unleashed, all flailing rhythms, grinding funky bass, and urgent vocals. It drives its way to an almost messianic (and there’s that word again) crescendo, that feeling of escape, not brought on by dreaming but by sheer determination. Attitude in excelsis, but reigned in from their personalities and imbued within the music. For one brief moment, cast over thirty minutes, you are invited into their world, and by the end you find yourself simply rooting for them to go further. There are rough edges, as expected from an early release, and often times the influences bear out, but it’s the delivery which makes this such an exciting proposition. The five piece from T&W have done well, and we wait with anticipation to see where they go next.