Share FIFTEEN - Super Wild Horses (AARGHT!)
The Super Wild Horses prove they've got ants in their pants, on this, their debut LP, "Fifteen".
What you get is a sharp slap, of classy, bubble-gum garage, all taut and wiry. Some folks have been keen to pigeonhole this sort of thing of late as Neo-Garage, Post-Garage or Pop-Garage, which are all about as useful descriptions as an offside rule in Australian Rules. This is all Garage, dammit!
If their debut EP was a short and sharp kerchunk of noise, of the band banging out their territory via some B52s/Pussy Galore style cage-fighting, then on "Fifteen" they step back and let the songs breathe find their life. The SWH, know their strengths/weaknesses/limitations, and play to them, making it more than the sum of its parts. Therein lies their charm - and it's a wise choice as they are after all trading in a genre that praises looseness.
The production comes courtesy of Eddy Current's Mike Young (fast becoming Melbourne's own little garage Phil Spector) and it is great. Fleshing out the SWHs' dry sound with some organ stabs and some extra percussion and the vocals right up front, Mikey helps them find their poppy hooks without burying them behind some overblown/overdriven bluster. And this is where the SWH succeed the most: They're packing 'tude into a sugar cube, flexing punky muscle and crooning softly when needed.
The best songs on "Fifteen" trade on an Us vs Them tough girl vibe and are vengeance numbers. The circular themes of want/lust/love/hate predominate on "Love" and "Golden Town", serving some grit with class, while showing us some of their demons. Tales and times we can all relate to. For mine, the album really cracks into gear on second track "Fifteen", where they put down the chorus of: "Your gang, your gang is coming to town" over some of that wirey guitar chunk and chiming organ (and some thumping drums that definitely don't lag.) And why not? Fight's on. Beats another sack of sad shits bemoaning their delicate states over some oh-so-soft-and-sensitive musical meanderings or bummed psych doodles, and then laying claims of being lo-fi garage. Trust me, there's a lot of it going around.
If I can poke any holes in this, then it's let down by some of the lyrics. It really wouldn't bothered me so much if some of it wasn't so damn good. I didn't come looking for any great cerebral massaging, but I guess a new take on the predominantly boy-girl-girl-boy theme would have been welcome. Then again I've probably just succeeded in contradicting myself. I do like this . A lot. Grab the vinyl and brighten your corners. -Thomas G
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