A couple of years back, Kate Cooper and Damon Cox were mere work buddies, punching the clock at a record store in Brisbane Australia, lackadaisically shooting the shit, and spending afterhours in the real life pursuit of rock and roll under the name An Horse. Later, as if shot from the heavens, the two would benefit from the kind of fortune for which most bands would happily trade a vital organ. Cooper plugged in the band's demo during a fateful in-store visit from Tegan and Sara. Soon after, An Horse would be booking a flight bound for The States. Seems T&S were impressed. They invited the band to come on as support for a lengthy, North American tour.
Three years later, it's clear An Horse has not broken stride, having just released their sophomore album Walls for the fine folks at Mom + Pop Records. True to their make-up, Walls is the sound of a now seasoned two-piece bucking the limitless temptations that lurk inside a big, modern recording studio. Their sound hems on a grungy, elemental makeup. Cooper prefers big, open chords that feed through the fuzz of her distortion pedal. Cox lays heavy on the kick and cymbals, filling open space with robust, plodding rhythms and well placed fills. There are nuanced turns in rhythm, dynamics, and overall intensity, of course. But opener "Dressed Sharply" sets a fairly straightforward tone, with tracks like "Trains and Tracks" and "Walls" all following similar suit.
On paper, it's not the stickiest sonic makeup, but that's why you'll have to give this one a spin to appreciate its craft. Though their output is limited, An Horse still serve the kind of scrumptious gobs of rock and roll that are sure to inspire pogo induced freak-outs at (European?) festivals all summer long. On Walls, the band sound confident and self-assured, ready for their songs to seep into any audience they happen to find.
Plus, Cooper's melodic vocals are brilliant, despite gloomy narratives that touch on distance, loneliness, and general detachment. She might be singing about letters, geography, and the pining for someone she isn't close to ("Dress Sharply"), or trying to reassure herself to "just sit tight, it will be alright" ("Walls"), but that just might be the price of the band's current international adventure. She and Cox could go back to that record store in Brisbane, but chances are nothing they could hock would be as satisfying as their own contributions to the musical landscape.