With the release of their third studio album, Blood, Pulled Apart By Horses have evolved their punk-hardcore debut sound, which saw them touring with the likes of The Bronx and Anti Flag near the end of the last decade. After working with legendary Pixies and Foo Fighters producer, Gil Norton, on their second album in 2012, it seems his influence has lingered, leading to a more considered and mature sound. However, it would be wrong to say these Leeds rockers have gone soft. Pulled Apart By Horses are still capable of making a lot of noise, staying true to their post-hardcore roots, and have maintained their playful, tongue-in-cheek attitude.
In the opening single, Hot Squash, James Brown’s distinctly Queens Of The Stone Age style opening guitar riff creates instant appeal. Teemed with Thomas Hudson’s gravelly vocals and some intricate time signature workings, this track sets high expectations for the rest of the album.
The amusingly titled ADHD in HD is straightforward, with an abundance of Sonic Youth style distortion and a building chaotic finish. It pairs neatly with the raucous Lizard Baby, the second single off the album. Heavy on percussion, Lizard Baby is a brief, but satisfying track.
You Want It is fast paced and in your face, with a repetitive chorus that compels you to yell along. Not too dissimilar to their earliest releases, it gives a nod to Pulled Apart By Horses’ punk roots.
In contrast, Hello Men is a subtler alternative-rock tune. Still with a noise laden chorus and plenty of distortion, it blends in well with the rest of the album, but comes across as more considered and self-aware. Similarly considered, Skull Noir takes it’s time to transform from a grinding, downbeat number to a loud standout.
It’s very easy to get carried away by this album. Blood is a gutsy and fulfilling accomplishment by the English rockers, who seem to have captured a perfect balance of paces and volumes throughout. Each new track comes and goes very quickly, and, while this may leave you pining for more, it works to the album’s advantage and removes the possibility of monotony from the songs sounding too similar.
The concluding tracks maintain the high standard of the album’s opening. Medium Rare is still heavy, but comes across as more gentle, laced with subtleties. Again the band returns to a QOTSA sound, but this time the influence is more evident in the vocals. The final track is an absolute standout. The longest of the album, Golden Monument takes its time to develop complex layers that swell to a substantial crescendo. Ending with an outro of lengthy guitar distortion, Blood forces itself into your consciousness and will remain with you long after the final song ends.