Things got interesting rather quickly, thanks to supporting nutcases, The Computers. They did what all good support bands do, quickly swelling the crowd within a couple of songs. Wearing white shirts and trousers, having slicked back hair, sporting a sort of possessed snarl and referring to everyone as “brothers and sisters” makes for an engaging enough experience on its own. On top of that, the lead singer’s mic stand broke halfway through the first song. As one does in such a situation, the singer duly stuck the top half of the stand to an audience member’s hand, and had him follow him around for the rest of the show, looking quite pleased to start with, but rather forlorn within about ten minutes.
If this were to happen to the majority of support groups, it would probably be so surreal that it would detract from the music. However, The Computers are far too loud to allow such thoughts to surface. Moreover, despite the copious amounts of distortion and occasionally unintelligible lyrics (unavoidable consequences of playing loud in a small room), a certain musicality shone through. One such moment occurred when out of nowhere, after a nice eardrum-mashing chorus, the ever-so-cool pianist treated us to a rather storming solo. Watching them is like watching what Pulled Apart By Horses would have been like in the 1950’s; and somehow, that is most definitely a compliment.
Pulled Apart By Horses, in their present day incarnation, are also deceptive. Of course, they adhere to the standards of heaviness expected of them, but they still have some strangely catchy riffs and choruses – often main stumbling blocks for hard rock pretenders. The brilliantly titled ‘I Punched a Lion in the Throat’, for example, juts and struts through an angular build up, before breaking into a proper chant-along chorus, before going into another completely different section.
Sounding almost like a grunge version of Funeral Party (there’s a comparison they probably won’t enjoy) or Dananananaykroyd, Tom Hudson’s voice is suitably harsh, but seems to retain an intent to remain, well, listenable. He never seems to struggle with the requirements his songs place on his voice. Neither does he resort to simply screaming out random noises in the hope no-one will notice the difference. PABH are far too good a band for that.
It is testament to their consistency that despite only having two albums, both of which comprise of mostly short, snappy songs (only 4 reach three and a half minutes between them), the gig lasts almost an hour without having to resort to any real filler. The new album’s lead single, ‘V.E.N.O.M’ gets the most enthusiastic reception. Perhaps the most anthemic thing to come out of post-hardcore since Biffy Clyro’s early albums, it is a quite stunning effort, one which should not only gain the band new fans, but also do something to revitalise the genre.
Pulled Apart By Horses are quite possibly the most important alternative rock band in Britain. Their incendiary live shows look set to help them attract the wider audience they deserve.
Pulled Apart By Horses’ new album, Tough Love, is out now. Also, check out The Computers’ This Is The Computers.