Album Review: Pulled Apart By Horses – “The Haze”
After a relatively subdued outing with 2014’s Blood, Leeds four-piece Pulled Apart By Horses were in serious danger of being left behind in the shuffle. Not willing to let that happen, the band got themselves a new drummer and decamped to deepest darkest Wales to record a more authentic follow-up, their fourth full-lengther, The Haze.
The British rock scene is absolutely chock-full of quality debuts and stunning returns to form right now, so even though three years never used to be a long time between releases, staying at the front of people’s minds is vital, and The Haze, despite its seemingly introspective title, isn’t about to stand on ceremony. The opening title track harks back to what PABH are all about, a relentless groove, fuzzy riffs and the spitting vocal delivery of Tom Hudson. It’s far more akin to their manic live shows, as are the blistering screams on The Big What If, backed up by the power of new drummer Tommy Davidson’s triumphant tub thumping.
The swinging Hotel Motivation fuses old school rock ‘n’ roll vibes with enough intensity to justify Hudson’s line “I’m melting faces, literally” while Prince Of Meats would fit quite happily alongside some of God Damn’s most recent psychedelically destructive material. Neighbourhood Witch may be relatively basic, but its punk urgency and snappy chorus have Iggy Pop written all over it, and even slower songs like Lamping have a quality that keeps you anticipating the next assault (which in this case appears courtesy of the caustic Flash Lads).
The only nagging issue here is that you can’t help but feel PABH need another record to settle back into their own skin. There are some decent tracks on The Haze (What’s Up Dude? is a great Sabbath-y homage) but you just get the impression that live they’re going to sound that notch or two more aggressive, which is what the band really need to capture on record in order to compete.
The Haze is a genre-defying outing from Pulled Apart By Horses, and you'd expect nothing less from this bunch of noiseniks. As for where the album sits in the band's catalogue, this is definitely a bigger sound, and one which has a focused intensity nestled nicely alongside its punky spirit, but it just feels like there's bigger and better to come.