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Sunday, May 29, 2011

An Horse - Walls: B+

If Walls isn’t the transcendent bastion of coming-of-age adolescence that An Horse intended it to be, it is certainly an indication of the Australian girl/guy duo’s potential to write at least a few songs akin to their ambitions. The songs of Walls are spritely when they need to be and somber when appropriate. Singer Kate Cooper has a precocious voice that bounces along to Damon Cox’s instrumentation with a strangely Brooklyn accent. It comes out when she pronounces those “r”’s in “Dress Sharply”, and gives Cooper a distinct personality on the album, whether that flair was intended or not.

Walls is abound with signifiers of young adult friction like obligatory “Twin Peaks” references and songs about airports. The arrangements are often rudimentary, but when Cox accompanies Cooper’s erudite lyrics with instrumentation just as incisive, the results are exemplary, as on the thumping album highlight, “Trains and Tracks”. Walls is peppered with some great one-liners, and, even when Cooper talks about that airport, she sounds clever and self-aware. “We could count all the planes at the airport,” she sighs in the gentle “Windows in the City”. “But that would mean that you and I were in the same spot.” Unfortunately, Walls features too much inconsequential filler, but, its highlights show that An Horse may yet have their best days ahead of them.


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