So it may have looked like I was deserting my post last week, swanning off to Paris to slide down hills on the ice and hibernate in nice restaurants. However, whilst my trip may have involved quite a lot of that sort of fun, I was not just being a bone-idle holiday-monger. Au contraire. I also had my ears opened to some great new music and had this excellent first EP by Hold Your Horses! thrust into my sweaty and eager palms (fine it was in a nice restaurant that this transaction took place but we were just following the model of most international business).
Most recent French bands seem either to do an excellent line in electronica or a terrible one in punk rock – you just can’t do attitude if your beige converse match your cashmere v-neck and your hair is cleaner and shinier than a Pantene advert. Hold Your Horses! have most in common with the second school, essentially a guitar band augmented with some strings and wind. However, perhaps the fact that they are a motley crew of diplobrats and true Frenchies contributes to the broader and more interesting range of influences discernible in their music. Sure, The Strokes are probably in every single member of the band’s record collection and at moments on this record, if you were to replace singer Flo’s Chrissie Hinde delivery with a Casablancas drawl, you would be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back to Strokes-fever 2003, but this is really just what provides the catchy backbone of these songs. There’s a pleasantly shambolic tone – perhaps a little too shambolic at times due to the slightly rough-around-the-edges self-done mix – and when the boy vocals kick in partway through track two, a vaguely Celtic edge emerges.
Opener Cigarettes and Lies, the strongest song on the record, fanfares its arrival with a blast of trumpets before launching into a danceable meditation on youthful lust and confusion. After that, the titles get longer and the violins more prominent as they have a bit of an Irish-ska moment (fine that’s not like, an official genre but listen and you’ll know what I mean) before ending on the sultry Argue and the sweet Flo’s Folk. Although not perfect or polished, this EP is really promising and tips HYH! as a band it’s definitely worth catching live when they hopefully make it to this side of the Channel.
Click hereto get hold of a copy.
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