Having been a huge fan of Leicester City Football Club for many, many years, this season, for me and all other Foxes fans, has been somewhat surreal, with my team at the time of writing presently sitting at the top of the Premier League, astonishingly with a chance of winning the thing. For the vast majority of the last 15 years, I am far more accustomed to crushing disappointment. One of the most excruciating seasons was the last time the team managed to ascend to the top flight back in 2003/4. That season, Leicester City started many matches well, scored a few outstanding goals and looked as though they would run out the winners. Then the last five minutes came and, instead of seeing the match out, my team chose to self-destruct and throw game after game away right at the death.
This is how I feel about the new Horse Party album, Horizons.
Nine tracks in, we’ve been carried away on a whirlwind of savagely brilliant tunes like the filthy fuzz of ‘Paydirt‘, the sumptuous ‘What I’d Do‘, which sounds something akin to how Fleetwood Mac would have panned out if they had signed to 4AD or the delightful opener, ‘Out Of Sight‘, which has the requisite blend of jangly pop and alternative rock to pitch its tent in the same arena as Belly. The problem only arises in Horizons‘ final quarter, not that there is necessarily anything wrong with the four songs that close it – they are pleasant enough after all – but they do lack that breathtaking energy that makes Horse Party such an exciting proposition in the first place, and I suspect that anybody making a “Best Of” compilation of the band’s work would see this as something of a fallow area.
Vocal duties are shared from the outset between frontwoman Ellie Langley and multi-instrumentalist Seymour Quigley, the latter taking centre stage on both the title track and the superb ‘Receiver‘, featuring some splendid lyrics (this is an aspect of Horse Party that NEVER disappoints) such as “When I was on the road to recovery/I was the eyes of a perfect storm/Staring all things down/As the oceans raged right in front of me.” A lot of the songs herein seem to suggest a certain loneliness; a feeling of being trapped and then breaking free, either from a tired, strained relationship, from that low paid, soul destroying job, or from real life itself through whatever means, legal or otherwise. Perhaps that is where the title comes from – new horizons, after all, are what everyone is ultimately striving for, right?
Who knows? Maybe on my own personal horizon there will come a day soon on which those final four songs will click for me. As it stands, they’ve turned what was almost an incredible album into merely a good one.