January 14, 2010
Mere hours before the first of their two Winnipeg shows opening for Tegan & Sara, my copy of An Horse‘s Rearrange Beds arrived in the post. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing them twice already — opening for Wintersleep in Edmonton, and a few months ago when I mixed their show at the Lo Pub.
After a bit of good luck being at the right place at the right time, the tide seems to be breaking for this Australian duo. While there are some melodic similarities to Tegan & Sara, Kate’s delivery is more deliberate and forceful and Damon’s drumming powerfully and skillfully fills any arrangement holes left by the absence of a bass player.
Thanks to An Horse’s raw energy, their debut album succeeds on these same terms. A great drummer and great melodies dominate throughout, never letting down, never letting go, and always pushing forward. Urgently calling out the trials of the heart and the desire for more meaningful connections, Rearrange Beds is a bullet of honesty shot from the streets of Brisbane.
Lyrically, Kate explores the heart’s successes and failures, as set against a physical world, with the steady combination of self-effacing wit and wry poetic slight of hand. Fans of author Jan Braun’s novel “Somewhere Else” will appreciate a similar sensibility.
There are no frills on this album. No gimmicks, no studio bullshit, and no letdowns. Its refreshing — and kind of amazing actually — that so much vitality can come from such simplicity.