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Pulled Apart By Horses

PABH

Pulled Apart by Horses - Blood

Show time: Friday 7 July - 8.20pm - 8.55pm

Life doesn't come with a user manual. But amid the constant noise, clamour and confusion of the Information Age, sometimes - as with much of the technology that surrounds us - human beings work best after simply being switched off, unplugged, reconnected and switched back on again. This basic truth underpinned the creation of the brilliant new Pulled Apart By Horses album, The Haze.

"As a band grows, and begins to develop a fan-base, there can be a weird, subconscious impetus to write music for the benefit of others," explains guitarist, James Brown. "And that's the wrong way to write music. When we made our last record [2014's Blood], we had our old record label and old management looking over our shoulders, and people were saying to us 'you need to sing more, you need to stop screaming, you need more quiet parts, you need bigger choruses,'. We took that advice on board nd went along with it, almost as an experience, and it worked, we made a really good record, it broke the Top 40, our fans understood it, and we enjoyed the whole process. But I think it wasn't the most Pulled Apart By Horses album. And so with this record, we wanted to make sure there was no external pressure from anyone, and write purely for the love of music."

"Basically," says vocalist/guitarist, Tom Hudson, "we wanted to go with out guts and f*** everyone else."

To facilitate this new-found desire for splendid isolation, at the beginning of 2016 the members of Pulled Apart By Horses decamped from their lock-up rehearsal facility in their native Leeds to a tiny, remote cottage on a dairy farm in the Welsh countryside for 10 days. Suitably disconnected from the main-frame, and the familiar comforts of home, the four young musicians - Hudson, Brown, bassist Robert Lee and new drummer Tommy Davidson, an old friend recruited from Leeds noise rockers These Monsters, to replace founding PABH member, Lee Vincent, set up their equipment in the cottage's living room, and began to make music together. 

"When we first got to the cottage, we thought 'There's nothing to do here!'", says James. "But that was precisely the point. There was no internet, no emails, no-one checking how we were getting on, and so we were writing for no-one but ourselves. We became like a little family - cooking for one another, building fires, holding late-night karaoke competitions - and completely immersed ourselves in the music."

"It was just the four of us, locked away from the world and any distractions," says Robert Lee. "One of the biggest influences in writing this new album was the band line up. We've known Tommy for many years, ever since the early days when the band first started, so it was a comfortable transition, but it definitely injected some new life and created a whole new level of creative spirit within the band."

"Tommy has a different style of drumming - he's a bit more hard-hitting, like a Dave Grohl/John Bonham type - and so that changed the dynamics," adds Tom. "He probably felt like he had something to prove, and in terms of creativity and pushing ourselves, his presence really made everyone step up."

The result is the best album of Pulled Apart By Horses' career. Recorded by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys/MIA/Drenge) at his McCall Sound Studio in Sheffield, The Haze is twelve tracks of whip-smart, unpredictable, fierce and sussed hardcore noise-pop, the sound of four friends getting wired on adrenaline, riffs, distortion and the sheer joy of locking into swaggering, dirty and demented rock 'n roll grooves. From the eerie, chiming bell which introduces the title track (the same bell which hangs in the porch of the Welsh cottage where the album was demoed) through to the harsh, buckling psych-sludge riff-out which closes Dumb Fun, it's an urgent, impassioned collection, laced with mordant humour and surreal imagery. Dissected and diced, one might hear elements of The Jesus Lizard, Devo, Hot Snakes, The Stooges, Krautrock, Surf-pop, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Captain Beefheart, QOTSA, Fugazi and T-Rex amidst its dozen tracks, but fused by electric studio performances, it's a compelling snapshot of a rewired, recalibrated and rejuvenated rock band at the peak of their powers.

"When we met Ross Orton, he said 'I saw you guys two years ago when you played in Sheffield, but when I listened to Blood, I didn't feel like it was the same band'," Tom admits. "He said, 'I just want you to sound like you do playing live, to capture that rawness and intensity'. And that's exactly what we wanted too."

"Ross essentially became a fifth member of the band for a month," says James. "We all liked the records that he'd made before, and he was perfect for us: he made us work hard, but he made the whole process enjoyable and brought real character to the record. We focussed more on each song individually in the studio and we were able to switch up the sound and tone and feel on each one. It feels like a proper album."

With a freshly inked deal with Amplify Music, and new management in Raw Power Management, (home of At The Drive-in, Bring liMe The Horizon, Gallows and more), Pulled Apart By Horses are approaching 2017 with fresh perspectives, open minds and the finest album of their career in their hands. Asked what will define success for The Haze, James Brown has an instant, inarguable answer.

"This record will be a success if we go out in tour in March and April and see people going f***ing crazy for the new songs, running around on the venue ceilings," he laughs. "There's a real caution in the music industry at present, with people obsessing over analytics and statistics, but chart positions don't matter anymore, and what matters to us is connecting with people and enjoying ourselves."

"Our musical tastes change monthly, never mind over the course of five years, so we are never going to be that kind of band who'd do the same album every time," adds Tom Hudson. "We've always been a band that are 'too heavy for the indie kids and too indie for the heavy kids' in industry terms, but it's quite cool that people don't really know where to put us, because it means no-one can easily slap a genre name upon us. Now we have the freedom to just be who we are."