Horse Thief - Fear In Bliss
If you’re looking for the archetypal Bella Union band then look no further. Horse Thief distill the ethos of the label into the ten tracks of their debut LP. Their slightly off kilter, pure indie pop may be popular these days but then Bella Union have been releasing this stuff for a long time now. Think John Grant, MONEY, The Walkmen, Veronica Falls - you get the idea. These four Texans fit right in, with front man Cameron Neal’s distinctive voice and mix of introspective and outward looking themes (“Asking questions like 'Do you believe in god?' / Looking back with a wink and a nod”).
‘I Don’t Mind’ is a strong opener before ‘Human Geographer’ ups the left-field pop beats and ‘Devil’ brings a quirky alt.pop vibe. Mid album there’s a change of pace with the acoustic, harmony-driven ‘Already Dead’, and the slow thoughtfulness of ‘Little Dust’ (“I sniff a little dust and I feel higher.”). Throughout the melodies are strong, culminating in the folky musings of ‘Dead Drum’. Generally taking their time over the songs, the dreamy relaxation of ‘Come On’ for example, this is one to savour. Holding up well to repeated listening, Fear In Bliss gives a little more depth on each listen.