“We’ve always been quite fast-paced as a band,” states Pulled Apart By Horses drummer Lee Vincent, in possibly the understatement of the year. He’s commenting on the band’s past two years in the shadows – a breather completely at odds with both the non-stop touring schedule and frenzied post-hardcore the band were previously renowned for.
“We just got to the point where we were in a position where we could take some time off and actually take our time with writing a record, which was not a position any of us ever thought we’d be in,” he continues. “So we decided, ‘Let’s not go on tour for a year and a half and take all that time to write a record’. Hopefully people will think the results are worthwhile. If not, we’re kinda… fucked,” he laughs.
Readings Festival’s Main Stage made a suitably grand launchpad for the four-piece’s future, in the lead up to the release of their aforementioned third full-length ‘Blood’. But despite their schedule beginning to gather pace, this isn’t quite a return to the madness of the old Horses – ‘Blood’ is an altogether more gloomy affair, with early singles prompting the phrase ‘stoner-rock’ from all angles.
“It’s an old cliche, but you’ve got to interest yourself first in the music you’re playing,” says Lee on the change of tone. “It wouldn’t have made us happy at all to go and make another ‘Tough Love’. It’s that thing where we’ve been playing at one hundred miles an hour for the first few years of our life. We definitely wanted to play around with some more brooding, mid-tempo stuff.
“I think it’s the record we’re all the most in love with, it’s definitely my favourite Horses record. I think there’s loads of influence in there from stuff we’ve been listening to, but we don’t see it cause we’re so close to it, and then people from outside the band can listen to it and go ‘This song’s like this and this sounds like that’. That’s always nice, cause it’s stuff that we don’t notice at all. It’s a more melodic record, definitely. We wanted to make it more melodic, but not lose that intensity. Even when we’re playing slower stuff, it needs to sound fuckin’ raw – like it’s being played with meaning.”
That idea of meaning and honesty is something that still defines the Horses ethos. An early glimpse at this ethos’ influence on ‘Blood’ came in the form of recent single ‘Lizard Baby’ – a three minute sludge-fest of a track, with a title that references writer David Icke’s assertion that the royal baby is… er, a lizard.
Lee explains the reference; “It’s kind of synonymous with bands doing things for attention, and to make their way ahead in the world in maybe not the most honest way. And that kind of ties in with the hype around just a little baby being born – the whole world goes crazy, and it’s just a couple who had a kid. It’s just all about the chaos of it I guess.”
Integrity is something Pulled Apart By Horses have always prided themselves on, but with ‘Blood’ the band finally felt ready to take a few extra steps. Releasing the record on their own label, Best Of The Best Records, is a fitting end to a production cycle that saw the most hands-on Horses yet.
“This is definitely a record where we feel like we’re ready to take a lot of control over things,” Lee continues. “We did our second album with Gil Norton, and as rock producers go, they don’t really get more legendary than that. We never had a clue what we wanted the record to sound like or anything, we just had this bunch of songs and we let Gil go to town on it. Whereas this time, probably for the first time ever, we actually had a vision of what we wanted things to sound like, and the sonics of it all. We felt we didn’t need someone to dictate that to us this time.”
“Doing the album in Leeds, a lot more low-key, just shows that we have more faith in the songs,” he concludes, a clear pride in his band’s work shining through. “We didn’t need a big name producer to put a stamp on it. I think it turned out better for it.”
Pulled Apart By Horses’ new album ‘Blood’ is out now via Red UK.