Cheap Horse sounds like an absolutely mental band from Santa Cruz, CA, both in terms of their music and their story. They live in the basement of their bass player’s girlfriend’s grandmother’s house. Much of the furniture has been removed in order to house amplifiers they bought on credit and are struggling to pay off. As if this strange abode was not enough, they also have the tale of a fan receiving a minor electrocution at a Cheap Horse show when he fell onto one of their pedal boards. Ouch. They felt it important to note that he also urinated a little. Well, I urinated a little simply by reading that and I hadn’t even listened to their music at this point.
The Couch Tapes is an overwhelming 17-track masterpiece which opens with the explosive, psychedelic ‘Confetti Moments.” It is 28 seconds in length and it crashes into ‘Seatlicker’ like the most epic, powerful, intense confetti I’ve ever heard. Both tracks are incredibly short in length, but adopt the same style of aggressive, punchy drumming and an electrifying, electric guitar power chord sequence distorted out of all recognition.
Eventually, this all descends and spirals further out of control into the folk-punk-rock track entitled “County Building.” Harmonic, a punk rock drum beat and power chords are again warped out of all recognition into an experience almost indiscernible from noise, but walking that line so finely and so proudly that it pulls off rock supremacy perfectly. Slipping into occasional hooks in the form of catchy vocals and guitar riffs, never have I heard such a short track (coming in at just over two minutes, in the classic punk fashion) so varied in style and ever-changing throughout its short run time.
“What’s That In The Sink” is a creepy, crawly track that seems almost like jazz-punk-rock; another intriguing fusion of a genre that you would never imagine could mix well with punk rock. Yet, the organs and distorted electric guitar blend perfectly in this slow-paced, nightmarish, one minute gem.
“Save The Snails” creeps back into traditional punk rock, opting for a crashing drum beat, a fluctuation between whirring guitar riffs and power chords, and catchy vocal hooks. Cheap Horse is truly insane and I can totally see how somebody might electrocute themselves simply by standing too close - never mind falling on a pedal board. I never know what on earth is happening in each and every song, but I absolutely love it. I feel like smashing everything and singing along, if singing along is even possible.
Finally, “How Are The Maggots, Michael?” is the absolute winner when it comes to the most electrifying bass guitar hook in the whole album. Crashing drum cymbals, a buzzing guitar and bass riff and screeching vocals about maggots all combine to create the longest, most varied one minute, 49 second piece of music I think it’s possible to make. The Couch Tapes is awesome. Listen to it.
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