Holy Motors
Horse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (45 Reviews)
October 25th, 2020 | 17 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Even better than the real thing

I love it when music ties itself to whatever else is going in my life at that point. A specific song may remind me of that one remarkably insignificant cup of tea at that remarkably insignificant restaurant, solidifying memories of small moments as integral aspects of enjoying the music in the future. Other times, records end up fitting in perfectly with what I’m occupying myself with, often presenting themselves more as complex puzzles than something which inherently coheres. In this specific case, having been stuck knee-deep in attempts of making sense out of certain postmodern theories, Holy Motors’ Horse, right down to the album cover, seems to fully reflect the concept of hyperreality.

Without going too far into this particular bit of semiotic silliness, it is best explained by means of one of U2’s greatest hits: ‘Even Better Than the Real Thing’. Simply put, Horse is much greater than the sum of its parts would imply it to be, and ends up crafting its own unique space of existence that stands tall above the expected; the ‘real’ real. Mixing country and dream pop with a flair of gothic in Eliann Tulve’s gorgeous vocals, the music exudes a wistful American feeling that could only be conveyed as such by a band decidedly not from this particular continent. Hailing from Estonia, Holy Motors have compiled a wonderful collection of songs that is as laid-back as it is compelling, gently exploring all facets of their unique sound.

Much like the majority of the record, it is pretty tempting to compare ‘Endless Night’ to the music of Orville Peck, yet, Horse is infinitely dreamier all throughout. This particular highlight finds Tulve lamenting “What’s another endless night?” over echoing guitar twangs and slow, meandering drums, solidifying the exceptionally contemplative nature of Holy Motors’ music. Similarly, ‘Matador’ expertly constructs a tangibly dense atmosphere by means of its slow pace and eerie, ethereal instrumentation. Its chorus is entirely unique in its inclusion of a heavily distorted guitar solo, buried underneath a pleasant layer of fuzz and the ever-captivating vocalist gloomily repeating the song’s title. Repetition is key to Holy Motors’ formula, and thankfully, it rarely falters through the band’s ability of consistently combining these repetitive elements with odd, unique or soothing details. It’s not quite dream pop, but it’s not exactly playing by the country rulebook either; something which hardly matters due to the sheer charming qualities of the music.

Clocking in at a concise 32 minutes, Horse builds its world within the first seminal seconds of ‘Country Church’ and allows its music to live comfortably within this framework. From these slow opening notes to the gorgeous duet on ‘Road Stars’, where Tulve’s voice is perfectly complemented by absorbingly deep male vocals, all the way to the fully instrumental closing track, not a single moment is wasted. While Holy Motors could have expanded on certain sections by, for example, allowing more space for the songs to breathe, this minor issue primarily provides opportunities to improve on future works, something already signaled by this bluesy finale here. For now, Horse exists within its own little bubble that is so much more compelling than one would expect. Like the obviously fake backdrop on the album cover, the album does not chain itself to any illusions of realness, instead achieving authenticity through playing its very own game; existing within a subtly novel space altogether.



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user ratings (9)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2020


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

neigh

check country church video (aka cute girl with cute animals): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NINujLXgRHk

Digging: An Pierle and White Velvet - An Pierle and White Velvet

Sunnyvale
October 25th 2020


1845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review! Looks really interesting, will definitely check this

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2020


22203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mazzy Star worship but these guys know how to do it well.



Great rev brother.

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2020


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys!



didn't think of mazzy at all while listening before, but now that you say it i fully hear it too!

budgie
October 25th 2020


22593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks 4 review

Crawl
October 25th 2020


2722 Comments


Love this band. Prefer Slow Sundown to this one, but it's still very very pretty.

theBoneyKing
October 25th 2020


19675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review. Glad I'm not the only one who caught on to the Orville Peck similarity.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2020


22203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh Jesp, I just realized you included Field Division in the rec'd by reviewer section. I love that record.

Crawl
October 27th 2020


2722 Comments


IIRC they mentioned Orville Peck in an interview a couple of years ago as "what they've been listening to recently" or something.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2020


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

anything 4 you budgie

and yes that album is so sweet dewi! perfect for summer

parksungjoon
October 28th 2020


23024 Comments


FRANKENSTEIN AND HIS



HOOOOOOOOOOOOORSE

Digging: Slauter Xstroyes - Free the Beast

dmathias52
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2020


1473 Comments


Oh man you have me pumped to check this

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2020


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hope you dig it mathias!!

conesmoke
October 29th 2020


6420 Comments


Album art is cool as.

alamo
October 29th 2020


3415 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

loving this

budgie
October 29th 2020


22593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

alamoooooooooo

Pho3nix
November 6th 2020


975 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This kinda reminded me of The Handsome Family somehow. I do not hear the Orville Peck comparison.



Had no idea they were from Estonia! cool



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