Brooklyn-based Black Horse was born in Seattle when indie guitar slingers April Goettle and AP Schroder got tired of flaky band members. They became a duo, stripped songs down to the bones, bought a cheap '80s drum machine for a backup band, and started making the harsh, glorious din that makes their debut The Black Arts of Black Horse such a bracing blast.
"Shake Shake Shake" comes stomping out of the night dripping primal ooze, a collection of pile-driver riffs and a simple pounding rhythm that sets the stage for what's to come. "We're All Gonna Die" is an incomprehensible screed about a working girl, or maybe a would-be rock star, facing down her mortality. The screaming guitars, Goettle's anguished shrieks, and a stomping beat sound like Slade coming down after a month-long belladonna binge. "Lapdance Technician" takes us inside a seedy sex club to peek inside the mind of a pole dancer who hates herself, her job, and the men who make her life a living hell. The bump-and-grind rhythm has no joy in it and Goettle's sneering vocal conveys an endless rage and frustration. "Sunrise Sunset" is a harsh morning-after blues, but the drugs and booze haven't worn off, leaving Goettle shuddering in the desolate light of dawn.
The band's journey to life's dark side won't make everyone happy, but those who share its bleak outlook will find it strangely comforting. (self-released)
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