Pulled Apart By Horses burst onto the scene four years ago with their self-titled debut which saw them immediately rise to the top of the UK underground both in terms of the quality of their music and success with a noise influenced hard rock sound. They then followed that with 'Tough Love' in 2012; an album that saw them brush off some of their rawness and heaviness to embrace their accessible rock side. Now with 'Blood' they cast aside even more of that original sound - but it's by no means a bad thing.
Kicking things off is 'Hot Squash' which signals that Pulled Apart By Horses are opting to hypnotise and entice you this time around rather than kick you in the teeth. They do this with the more groove orientated riffs and vocalist Tom Hudson adopting an eerier tone. 'ADHD In HD' starts off in a clangy way that's almost no-wave. It goes on to take a Sonic Youth influence with a sarcastic tone underlined by seriousness, not to mention the jumpy breakdown and erratic ending. 'Skull Noir' might as well be called Skull Crushing; it's opening riff hits you so hard with Black Sabbath-esque strength and doom, before going into more high octane jumpy rock 'n' roll with 'Life will always get you hurt' being bluntly repeated. 'You Want It' is built up with fuzzy bass and driving drums before becoming the most energetic track on the album with its 'I'm going out of my mind, but I can take it' sentiment.
When listening to this album you see a band that have evolved from impatiently hammering out noise to patiently putting a spell on you. That's not to say that their spontaneous work is bad (it's actually really good), but the band focusing on their craft has resulted in them creating a different kind of beast altogether. Take 'Outahead' for instance; where Hudson once screamed bloody murder in your face, he now dizzies you with his gloomy vocals which one can't deny is just as effective. Following that is 'Medium Rare' which is their grooviest song yet; an incredibly loose and danceable hook that Queens Of The Stone Age probably wouldn't have minded claiming ownership to. The album ends the most upbeat thing the band have ever done with the guitars cooled down a notch and Hudson joyously yelling the song's title.
Overall this is a very impressive change of direction for Pulled Apart By Horses. They've toned down a lot of their aggression and punch, but have maintained just as much edge by substituting previous elements with darkness, suspense and more groove. As great as their older hyperactive material is, the direction they've gone in this time around is the best thing for the band. It shows Pulled Apart By Horses with more tricks up their sleeves and maturing in the most exciting way.
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