Some bands are album bands, and some bands are singles bands. This is a long established fact, I make no judgement on which is a better method or approach, but it does help to accept it; Horse Guards Parade are an album band. Ten Songs their debut full length release is more intriguing as a collection of songs than the title might portray. From the get go the most striking theme that runs throughout is the mix of American sounds and British lyrics.

US folk revival, blues and country are all obvious sources of inspiration, 'Since You Fell Off My Axis' instrumentally could easily be a Neil Young b-side from years gone by. However, lyrically and characteristically Horse Guards Parade are very much from these grey islands; even their name points obviously to the heart of British tradition. But don't let that leave you thinking of pomp and circumstance, the album opener 'Everybody's Going Back To Your House' talks of pointless youth, lost love and drugs. Continuing the Britishness of the album, 'She Looked Like A Henry Moore' not only name checks our most famous sculptor, but also mentions several small towns across the country. They don't shout out where they're from, but intelligently whisper it. 'The Treble Clef' highlights itself from the other songs a little, bringing in synthetics sounds, guitar effects and a sound that owes a little more to The Eels.

Vocally, there is definitely a clear northern twang, though I am strongly reminded of Damon Gough, and Cave In's Stephen Brodsky. The whole band feel like they fit well together, closely and with understated confidence. There's no bravado or in your face attention-grabbing here, no stand out hit singles, or huge variations of dynamic, tempo or mood, just a good collection of songs by a good band. I say just, but that does Horse Guards Parade a disservice. 'Just' is derogatory, it is a great thing to be able to put together ten songs which are enjoyable to listen to and make you feel good. 'Just' implies this isn't an achievement but it is. No, Ten Songs probably won't change your life, it won't have you screaming choruses into your hair brush. It will, however, make you happier. This album is a really nice experience; well put together, intelligent, subtle and at times witty. For a first LP, Ten Songs is very good. Most bands wouldn't have the confidence or seasoned experience in themselves and their sound to produce this, first try out of the gate.

Horse Guards Parade recently open on Pavement's reunion tour, and have been heralded by BBC Introducing, and I can see why. Bands like this aren't going to have full page ads on the back of music-glossies to alert you to their existence, but if you hunt around and listen to the opinions of the well informed you are likely to find some gems, and I'm very glad to have found this one.

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