Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009


Well, we had to like something from Australia eventually…


Anthony Easton: I put this up on my blog a few months ago, and have thought about it once a week or so since then. The message is inspirational in a functionally useful way. I like how it quotes Hole, I like how it appears to be a poppish remake of the sentiments of PJ Harvey. I like how it realizes that collapse is one of the ways of handling the stress, I like how it gets heavy and more angular as the track moves on. This is the updating of 90s nostalgia I can get behind.

Edward Okulicz: A melodic but pleasingly intense indie-pop morsel which distinguishes itself with the tensely stilted vocal performance of Kate Cooper, who is clear where the music is muddy. The words hint at something a bit dissolute, which gives it a surprising amount of replay value.

Jonathan Bradley: Any song that shouts out Hole is worth a second listen, and An Horse’s “Camp Out” doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. There’s a bit of that ’90s alternative sound here, in the driving simplicity of the modest, not anthemic, power chord progression. It’s a disarmingly sincere sound, with an openness matching singer Kate Cooper’s delivery. She sings with the conversational intimacy of a close friend getting something off her chest, like, say, that she doesn’t want to just be a close friend any more. Her clear tones are the auditory equivalent of her looking the object directly in the eyes, but she starts off stalling: “What if, like you said, what I’m looking for doesn’t exist?” But after screwing up her courage, she gets to the point, declaring, boldly, “You want to camp out, and I want to fuck around in the dark.” There’s nothing reserved about the track, but there’s a lot of vulnerability in its sparseness; “I’m surprised how we fit together,” Cooper sings, willing it to be so. There’s something at stake here, and that risk transforms a song so basic into a tune so essential.

Alex Macpherson: There’s possibly a decent song lurking somewhere in here, but it’s pretty much buried beneath a bog-standard, unimaginative arrangement and a singer whose emotional range stretches only to “diffident” and “petulant”.

Matt Cibula: Very much not my sort of thing but I like it just fine for what it is. Extra love for the specificity of the conflict in the relationship; demerits though for not being A House. (Sometimes I think On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round is the best-constructed album of all time.)

Rodney J. Greene: Trashed but tuneful garage-band bad girliness. Manages to be coy and unapologetic and winsome all at once. I bet they’re a blast to hang out with.

Martin Kavka: For an allegedly out lesbian, Kate Cooper is remarkably cagey about her pronouns: “This is a song for the one that I love / I haven’t met them yet.” Still, it’s been a long time since indie was this plain, honest, and, well… indie.

Iain Mew: I really like the earthy, rough feel to this, splashy drums and all. It’s appropriate for lines like “I want to screw around in the dark”, lends an urgency throughout and is a fine workaround for a less than naturally gifted singer. The feel is quite Stories From the City and gets a fair bit closer to the successes of PJ Harvey than some others, like Howling Bells, have managed.

Ian Mathers: The vocal resemblance to Tegan or Sara is kind of distracting, but I’m not sure that duo ever came up with as compelling a tension as the one this singer generates between the way “Camp Out” starts out frightened of the possibility of never finding love and ends with her stating “you want to camp out / and I want to fuck around / in the dark.” Songs about relationships that are neither idealized nor ending (yet) are surprisingly rare on the ground, and “Camp Out”‘s blunt honesty and rhythmic drive makes for one of the better examples the form has seen recently.

Michaelangelo Matos: I already liked the rough, loose music before deciding to sit down and concentrate on what the stray lines that kept jumping out at me might add up to. Then I noticed Kate Cooper’s opening salvo: “This is a song for the one I love/I haven’t met them yet/But I’m quietly confident”. Maybe she is, but her guitar isn’t quiet atall, and by the time she got to “My hips won’t give anything/Not tonight, not to you/But I think we both know you will stay”, I had to admit she was right. Want to hear the rest of this album bad.

6 Responses to “TUNES RECOVERY PROJECT: An Horse – Camp Out”

  1. Totally drew a blank with this snoozarama — couldn’t think of a thing to say, give or take wondering if the annoying article meant their band name is pronounced “An ‘Orse” — but now I wish I would’ve bit the bullet and joined Alex as a dissenting voice. That this in-one-ear-out-the-other blandout scores so much better than Das Racist or Timberlee feat. Tosh is just plain…weird.

  2. man, cosign on THAT

  3. The first couple of times through I actually expected it to grow on me – maybe the lyrics are good? – but when it didn’t the next couple of times through I dismissed it. Score one for the ADD generation.

  4. I like that the shoutout to the Hole lyric says “Hole album” though I’d have respected it more if it had said “Hole lyric,” instead. Also like the way she demonstrates that it’s OK to crumble by saying “It’s OK to crumble.” But perhaps for some of us the lyrics are more expository than evocative. So, except for Lex, the nonsusceptibles are consigned to the comment thread. Well, we had our chance so can’t complain. (Do think the guitar’d get this up to about a 6 for me, despite the singer sounding infantilized. I’ve heard worse.)

  5. Uh, Frank, she IS shouting out the album.

  6. Huh, I thought I left a comment here. Guess not. Anyway, this is fantastic: my favorite discovery from Tunes Recovery Project. Check out the great Kaki King cover, too!