Australian pop duo An Horse.
Language buffs will have to work hard to get past An Horse's grammatically awkward name, but it's well worth it. Australians Kate Cooper and Damon Cox make up An Horse. The two recently released their full-length debut, Rearrange Beds, on which they tackle a simple enough formula: drums, electric guitar, and failed relationships for lyrical fodder. It's dangerous territory for some bands. It's easy to turn those ingredients into melodrama or an exercise in the trite. But An Horse uses its confessional lyrics to create 10 immediately recognizable tunes, with toe-tapping beats. It's a combination that led the duo to opening spots on tours with Death Cab for Cutie and Tegan & Sara.
The album's second track, "Postcards," may sound familiar to some. It was featured earlier this year in a commercial for Mercedes-Benz. On that song, Cooper's pop-punk guitar chords and Cox's drums pound out brawny but infectious rhythms impossible to ignore. That same brash attitude is found throughout Rearrange Beds, as if attempting to mask the heartbroken vulnerability behind the words Cooper sings. "It's OK to fall down / It's OK to crumble / I have seen this before," she reassures herself on the album's opener, "Camp Out." Two songs later, she admits her true feelings: "I'm trying to be brave / But you're listening to every word I say / And I'm trying not to give it all away."
On the surface, Rearrange Beds may seem as if it is traversing familiar territory, and in some ways it does. But listeners trying to survive a breakup — and anyone who loves smart, sharply produced pop — will appreciate An Horse's heart and honesty.
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