Hold Your Horse Is - Frimley
Frimley is a small town on the Surrey/Hampshire border that is probably best known either for its train station's acronym being FML or the annual Lakeside darts competition. It's also the name of the debut album from Hold Your Horse Is, and a nod to the hometown of two of the three members. Sadly, there's no song called Fleet to mark where singer and guitarist Robin Pearson grew up. Self-released through Bandcamp, the album follows a string of successful EPs and extensive touring over the last couple of years.
The album has been produced by the legendary Gordon Mills and mastered by Hymns man Sam Manville and sees the boys build on their successful template of writing loud rock songs that you'll go back to over and over again. Brought up on a diet of Hundred Reasons and Reuben in nearby towns and venues, it's clear where the band's main influences lie, especially on the opening riffage of the first track on the album 'Mumbler. A penetrating opener that sets the tone for what's to come. Big riffs, stomping bass, aggressive drums and an addictive, repeated refrain of "make more sense" alongside the first of Robin's many big roars on the album: "Alriiight." With a more angular feel, 'Absurd' sounds like it could have been written by any Seattle band in the early 90s – and that's a massive compliment. "Shut up, we're listening to the silence" and "maybe our secret's in fashion now" hint at a band who want to keep some mystique in their lyrics while the breakdown, brash guitars and edgy vocals make you feel like you're in the middle of a mosh pit merely by listening.
The dual force of 'Everything's So Mundane' and 'Forgive and Forget' see HYHI confirm they really are a band to be reckoned with. The former being an impassioned call to arms with the essence of Billy Talent or Pulled Apart By Horses. It may be a powerful track and sees the band at their angriest with James Penny's beastly bass and Chris Rouse's powerful drums perfectly backing up the increasingly agitated vocals, but there is a lightness in the melody that recalls Reuben's 'Let's Stop Hanging Out'. Previous single 'Forgive and Forget' meanwhile gives a nod to another 405 favourite ("the Stagecoach show was turbo") and is full of catchy bass lines, hooks and commanding melodies. The band do branch out into different genres, 'You're Dreaming' has a more progressive and dreamy feel, not to mention the fantastic lyrics "a flick of the wrist to connect with a fist." The brilliantly named 'Like Crisps Under Bison' may be the longest track on the album but seems to fly by with its Yourcodenameis:Milo meets Million Dead atmospherics.
'Buchanan' is a song we sincerely hope is named after David Hasselhoff's Baywatch character and contains an almost-tribal opening as Robin's vocals glide over singing "I can't reach the top." This is another song full of angry intensity, but one that never strays from being melodic, bringing to mind the likes of Meet Me In St Louis. The instrumental break will almost blow your ears off while listening on headphones, and comes close to capturing the sheer force of the band's live shows. A song that couldn't be more different but still retains that brute force is 'Title Track'. Clocking in at under one and a half minutes, it is relentless, uncompromising and may feature some of Robin's best screaming on the entire album. The closing 'Tongues' opens in more sedate fashion, recalling the intro of previous EP favourite 'Casual' and has distorted vocals. There is an almost haunting and eerie sound as Robin recounts "we could bite off our tongues." Two minutes in, the vocals come through at the same volume as the rest of the record and the track springs into life. Passionate, honest and sang with hearts on sleeves, it's the big anthemic finish the album deserves. With juttering stop-start riff nods to early Biffy, the vocals are sure to resonate: "We could pull out on our eyes, and hide underground, so we'd never be lost and never be found." The last 40 seconds return to solely the jittery riff, giving a gentle end to what is a forceful, passionate record. At one point, Hold Your Horse Is claim "It's a pleasure to have you around, I don't want to let you down," but the pleasure is all ours and they don't have to worry, they most certainly haven't let anyone down with Frimley.
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