Horseback - Piedmont Apocrypha
25 March 2014

01. Passing Through
02. Piedmont Apocrypha
03. Milk And Honey [feat. Troy Schafer]
04. Consecration Blues
05. Chanting Out The Low Shadow

Horseback are a sneaky bunch; being the clever sound shifters that they are this new album is an interesting turn of events. Firstly, it's actually mostly just the one fellow behind all the fetchingly folky psychedelia this time around, secondly, Jenks Miller just made off with your wallet.

That is if you and your money usually part ways at the first sign of anything particularly trippy, especially if it promises a unique bit of charm. When I got this promise from Miller's music and this unusual kind of droning, charisma loaded American folksy rock, it all seemed to grab my attention anyway, with or without my consent. Piedmont Apocrypha is slow and intoxicated psychedelic playtime, however it is insubstantial as a whole, most of the songs being of the decidedly minimalistic persuasion. Fans of the band's prior tunes may be left wanting for something of the heavier psych type or more of the metal variety. Although, it has such an odd and distinctive personality to it that it's hard for the curious listener, fans and newcomers alike, to resist temptations, and to not have at least a cursory listen.

This isn't "in your face" peculiar. It's not going to immediately jump out at you and demand or seize your wallet. After all, it's broad daylight and there are folks about. No, Horseback is much more subtle than that. Slow but sure persuasion is the game.

You really have to take the whole psychedelic aspect to heart; otherwise I can guarantee this is going to be in one ear and out the other. Metal influences are scarce, if there at all, most of this having an ambient quality with the use of distorted and drawn out guitar lines never picking at a metal edge. I'm sure black metal fans will find something at least a little endearing collected within the final seventeen minute sprawl of the closer "Chanting Out The Low Shadow," if only for the darker undertone and overlaid harsh vocals. This track is generally where much of the album's substance is to be found, especially in terms of its hypnotic rhythmic sensibilities, and the title track also gives ample time to expound itself, the quaint bluesy feeling fleshed out significantly enough around its droning core. This song in particular best represents that whole "American folksy" thing I mentioned previously. It really is characterful stuff.

Though it's the shortest piece and by no means representative of the album as a whole, I get a heady and satisfying sense of Storm Corrosion (of all things) from the tune "Consecration Blues," which is odd as it seems particularly distinct within a particularly distinctive album.

Horseback are a treat to be enjoyed sparingly, I find. With a unique sound this softer piece is sure to hit that psychedelic sweet spot most of us need sated every once in a while. Indulge and I'm sure you'll be surprised.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Band profile: Horseback
Album: Piedmont Apocrypha


Written on 11.04.2014 by
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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BloodTears - 12.04.2014 at 12:39  
Interesting. I want to listen to this! I remember I liked Half Blood quite a bit.
tea[m]ster - 21.04.2014 at 06:43  
Tried this, didn't like it so much. Maybe just a bit too much "psych" in it for me. Nice review again R'!
Apothecary - 10.09.2014 at 04:21  
Half Blood and The Invisible Mountain are both fantastic. The way you describe this though makes it seem like this one's less heavy and not as metal as the previous releases, but that's not really that big a deal, it was always the psychedelia that made this band more than anything else anyway. I didn't even know they had a new album out until I scoped the band profile today, will definitely be looking into it
Apothecary - 24.12.2014 at 21:19  
Coming back to this today, and you're right that this really is probably the one release from the band that most purely embraces the psychedelic aspect. Really great stuff though, perfect mellowing out music.

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