Event Horses – Dance With the Devil (EP)

Dance With The Devil coverMmm, things are starting out pretty well here for Ballycastle’s Event Horses. Buckets of throaty vocals and fat, rocking riffs, all wrapped up in a thick and meaty sound. Plus the first thing you see when you pick up this record is some seriously slick artwork and design, with more character to it than a lot of what I get sent. Character trumps presentation, folks, but it’s best when you can manage both.

It’s a shame there’s only three tracks present because I’d really like to hear more from these guys. Their sound is more-ish and their hooks, well, you know, they drag you along with them like you’re dangling by one foot from the stirrups.

‘Dance With the Devil’ is the first tune that canters up, displaying its juicy riffs and a deceptively good, rasping vocal line. It’s a moment before you realise that as simple as the song is it’s really well-judged; I figured this out around the time I realised just how much flesh those hooks had torn loose. Okay, so it repeats itself a bit too much throughout – you get variations on those central licks and riffs but nothing that really shakes you out of that reliable, staid groove – but too much of a good thing isn’t a major problem when it’s come and gone in about three minutes. The evil power of rock ‘n roll laid bare, right there.

Similar tricks are on display in ‘Desperate Times’; it’s built around another solid groove but the riffs bounce and roll less, opting instead for drum-driven verses and power-chord-heavy 4/4 choruses with some wailing lead providing some tasty bits of dynamic distinction. This is pretty much the epitome of a middle song; good enough and it keeps you going but it’s what came before and comes after that matters more.

And, ah. Here I run into a wall. See, the last track of the three, ‘From the Start’, is a song I’m pretty ambivalent about. See, despite taking a bit of a different tack to the previously established rock & roll groove  of the other two tracks it’s every bit as catchy; possibly more so. The vocal line is fucking radical, too. I’ve found myself humming along to this song a bunch of times. That’s pretty good, right? And I’ve found myself singing it absent-mindedly, too.

Why is any of this a bad thing?

Uh, because the lyrics used for the biggest, coolest vocal hooks in the chorus are “she’s such a slut she’s a whore / and I don’t want you no more”. That’s not something I want to sing. It makes me feel faintly appalled. It reminds me of the moment I fell out of love with Glassjaw (for the record: driving, playing EYEWTKAS, singing along, pausing suddenly, turning to girlfriend, sharing “holy shit this is fucked” moment). And before anyone jumps on me for mentioning them, Event Horses haven’t gone and produced anything anywhere near as misogynistic as Daryl Palumbo managed, but it’s still something I resent finding myself singing, it’s a song that I’ve played to people and said “look how much they fucked up this awesome vocal line with these lyrics”, it’s something that basically ruins an awesome song for me. Fuck, lads.

Still, unfortunate lyrics aside, Dance With the Devil is a pretty sweet record, and I do recommend you check these guys out. Even if it’s not this record – it’s not just me that finds lyrics like that kind of a deal-breaker, right? – you should give them a go. Do it. Do it. Dance with a devil.

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