Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves of Destiny – Atlas

This is not the name of a My Little Pony episode.


Andrew Ryce: Wikipedia calls this artist “anti-folk.” I guess that’s because on the second verse all the other instruments drop out and we just get Houghton and a guitar and some lightly jazzy drums? Oh, there’s the FlorencexAdele hand percussion again. At least she doesn’t sound like the Moldy Peaches. But I’m not sure the world needs another song that sounds like this. Maybe Florence x Adele was the wrong comparison — Florence x Kate Nash instead? I’ll leave you to savour that thought. At least this song has some fun dynamics.

Brad Shoup: “If you loved Adam Ant, but wished he’d recorded more mini-suites,” says the sticker. More Mekons-style spoken word, more Sons of the Pioneers-style backing vocals, fewer crawly stretches, I plead.

Jonathan Bogart: The galloping drums and the fluting voice make for a striking contrast; if there were any lyrical ideas as strong as that sonic juxtaposition, they escaped me.

Iain Mew: Beth’s first album “Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose” has a stupid name and a stupider cover, but it demonstrates a versatile and imaginative songwriting talent. “Atlas” is a prime example, flipping between galloping adventure with choral backing vocals and quicksilver guitar and a tipsy acoustic lament that others can out-do the extent of that adventure. She fits in a diversion into brittle spoken word too, and if “Atlas” is not exactly greater than the sum of its parts, at least all of those parts sound great.

Edward Okulicz: Even if the melody doesn’t stick to me, I like how Beth flutters like a more earthy Florence at times. She wisely doesn’t make that the basis of the song, using it merely as emphasis and colour. It’s a surprisingly kinetic jig, too.

Michaela Drapes: Are you ready for the resuscitation of Grebo via Freak Folk? I am!! File under: unlikely cross-pollinations that probably shouldn’t have happened but are pretty brilliant nonetheless.

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