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REVIEW: Horse Party - Cover Your Eyes (Integrity Records, 2014)

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REVIEW: Horse Party - Cover Your Eyes (Integrity Records, 2014)

Horse Party are the latest in a long line of great bands to come out of Bury St Edmunds ‘Rock City’. Here, IP1’s music editor, Marcus Neal, reviews the band’s debut album, Cover Your Eyes, recently released on Integrity Records.

Suffolk three-piece Horse Party have pedigree; guitarist Seymour Quigley was frontman of Miss Black America who gained a hugely influential fan in John Peel, resulting in a pair of Peel Sessions in the early 00s. Seymour then went on to form Ten City Nation and has become a cornerstone of the Suffolk music scene promoting regular and well-attended gigs in the band’s home town of Bury St Edmunds. The Washing Machine nights, which he co-runs with drummer Shannon Hope and guitarist/vocalist Ellie Langley, provide opportunities for young local groups to develop by playing shows with local acts and out of town bands such as Shonen Knife and Tunng. 

Cover Your Eyes is Horse Party’s debut album. With a total of eight tracks running at a little over 30 minutes, it is just the right length to showcase where the band is right now. It was recorded to tape by Gavin MacKenzie and George Perks at Punch Studios in Ipswich and the record, in particular the two guitar-no bass approach, really benefits from the analogue warmth. 

Last year’s single Back to Mono and the band’s debut release Clarion Call open the album – each introduced by dampened Telecaster downstrokes but soon unravelling into wholly different and memorable hooks. There are shades of Beth Ditto in Ellie’s delivery, also early PJ Harvey especially in the blues swagger of recent single What Do You Need, which lopes along with swirls of looped vocals and delayed slide guitar.


Album highlight for me is Inbetween – a departure from the more blues-based tracks that make up the backbone of the set – this time with Seymour’s and Ellie’s vocals riding atop Shannon’s rolling, tumbling drumbeat, which drives along with bent sustained notes and guitar crunch. The track, along with Seymour’s excellent, Buffalo Tom-like Let the Man Die, gives colour to the record, which if I am to find a fault, can come across as slightly monochrome overall. This may be to do with the sequencing of the album or it could be the fault of the reviewer impressing too much of the band’s black and white aesthetic upon the music within. I’m sure that living with the record more over the coming months will root this out.

In all, this is a very assured statement from a band that are clearly benefiting from regular gigs and the confidence and drive this instils in a band. The importance of figures like this in a local scene should not be underestimated, and the fact that this trio also has the time and energy to write and record work to this standard alongside running a label, producing a fanzine and supporting other local artists, shows a genuinely commendable commitment to the cause. That the band already has album number two tracked and has been rewarded with a slot at this summer’s Latitude festival is real proof of the band’s passion and ambition for the future.

Words: Marcus Neal

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