Aiming for a mature sound with 2014’s ‘Blood’, Leeds hellraisers Pulled Apart by Horses exchanged the chaos that made them such an exciting band on their self-titled debut and 2012’s excellent ‘Tough Love’, for a streamlined alt rock sound and real singing. Doing so transformed them from being the bright hopes of British rock into a poor man’s Twin Atlantic.
Unfortunately, fourth record ‘The Haze’ is a continuation of PABH’s downward spiral, as its attempts to work traces of Sgt. Pepper psychedelia into brash alt-rock passages begin to resemble a bygone era of generic indie bands.
The record opens promisingly, as vocalist and guitarist Tom Hudson playfully proclaims ‘I woke up in a haze again’ on the opening title track. While swirling guitars and high-energy rhythm sections showcases a band more comfortable producing catchy melodies than they were on ‘Blood.’ ‘The Big What If’ continues the high-octane performance, also showcasing the album’s strongest chorus.
Afterwards, ‘The Haze’ tumbles in quality, as tracks like ‘Prince of Meats’ and ‘Neighbourhood Witch’ offer half-hearted performances with unremarkable hooks. The latter repeating the line “never gonna take my soul” monotonously to the point that it becomes annoying.
The production hinders the potential the record could reach. While the cluttered walls of messy guitars is intentional for gaining that ‘hazy’ sound, one can’t help but listen to ‘Flash Lads’ and think that, with a sharper Foo Fighters-esque mix, it could have been a much bigger record.
In an age where names like Frank Carter and Heck are bringing chaotic punk rock to a mainstream consciousness, it’s sad that Pulled Apart by Horses, one of the groups that once spearheaded the movement, have released an album this pedestrian on a scene this exciting.
‘The Haze’ by Pulled Apart by Horses is released on 17th March on Caroline International.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)