Horse Party - Cover Your Eyes
On the inner gatefold, in washed-out monochrome, in a deep and featureless field, Horse Party stand oddly disconnected; lost, literally, in the long grass. In the foreground, two lovers gently kiss, oblivious of Ellie, Shannon and Seymour stood behind them, blissfully unaware of us looking in. And on the cover of this excellent debut by the Suffolk three piece, the pair are alone, locked in intense embrace. It’s an arresting and beautiful image – two young women, long black dresses, barefoot, blocked out against the tree line, shadowed by lens flare and alone in the world.
Cover Your Eyes is equally, fittingly earthy, and expansive, too. The swamp sway of ‘Scarlet and Blue’, the shuffling ‘Six’, with its nod to the crunching riffola of The Kills, causes a re-think midway. These songs don’t fit so obviously with the likes of ‘Back to Mono’ and emerging signature tune ‘Clarion Call’, an opening brace that buzzes with a 90’s alt-indie sheen, reminiscent of the sharp re-imaginings of 2:54. But Cover Your Eyes displays surprising breadth - a mere nine songs but every one earning its place. Singer Ellie Langley is irresistible, with a voice with body and tone beyond indie rock standard issue. And just when you think you’ve got them, they pull the rug again. ‘Let the Man Die’, modelling breezy, US college rock lines (think The Shins or even classic Ben Folds Five), puts bassist Seymour Quigley stage front. The song offers a sweet/sour mix of prescient, razor sentiment (“If I put all twelve fingers round my girlfriend’s throat / Will they up and give a Grammy to me?”) and winning tunefulness. Contradictions abound in this hugely accomplished debut. Highly recommended.