The past, as it is said, is like a foreign country. Old photgraphs of yourself reveal bizarre scenarios that you’d forgotten about, friendships long since lapsed and, perhaps most prominently, dreadful fashion decisions. It’s the same with old magazines and newspapers, with irrelevant issues blown up out of all proportion as front page leads and features on ‘rising stars’ that even the most knowledgeable of musos can’t recall, a mirror to a time that no longer exists. As anyone who lived through the Crazy frog boom years can tell you, the thing about the present is that it tends to feel as though it’s Zeitgeist is going to go on forever. Even with the knowledge of past fads not quite working out, it’s difficult to imagine a time when The Horn The Hunt don’t sound fresh and exciting.
Based in Leeds, Clare Carter and Joseph Osbourne have spent the past 4 years formulating their debut album dotted around the globe. Cramped recordings from Norway, Greenland, Holland, Spain and England itself form the entirety of their eponymous debut, put out by White Label Music. Perhaps in a bid to battle against the ageing process that can make the images of bands even from 2008 seem distant and jarring (Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, anyone?), they insist upon dressing up whilst on stage, with facepaint and a costume used to bizarrely brilliant effect. Their music, though, is enough to stand apart by itself, tapping into a rich lineage of powerful female frontwomen backed by tender, atmospheric synth, electronic beats and creeping guitar. A forthcoming slot supporting Zola Jesus seems apt, but comparisons are more precise when they’re with Portishead. The certain, eerie delivery of crystalline vocals was perfected by Beth Gibbons years ago, and this is probably the first to come within touching distance of her enigmatic ghostly drawl since.
The Horn The Hunt make their music atmospheric, but not in the same way that the current wave of Witch House are. Instead of slowing down and distorting samples, there’s a building presence that runs through their tracks, nuanced arrangements that serve to engulf rather than overawe. In a few years, a trawl through redundant iPods may seem like the work of science fiction, with dead genres and irrelevant bands dominating most played lists. Not everything ages well, but it’d be a fair bet to say that these two will hold up a lot better than most.
The Horn The Hunt – The Valley