This is a review of "Meat Balloon" recorded by Pulled Apart by Horses. The review was written by Kate Zezulka in 2008.
Most of the connotations carried by the name Pulled Apart by Horses likely centre around their [in]famous sweaty and lawless live performances. Not only their sets’ raw energy, but the on-stage antics and wide-spread silliness, constitute a large aspect of what really makes Pulled Apart by Horses so very appealing. Their debut single is, then, all the more impressive for the flair and ease with which they handle the recorded aspect of things.
A-side “Meat Balloon” manages to preserve the essence of what the quartet are about. Musically, there is, of course, no miserliness in terms of sparring guitar and bass parts, growling power chords, capricious and episodic structures, off-beat grooves and vim-full, howled lyrics. The general Pulled Apart by Horses ethos not necessarily implicit in the music isn’t overlooked either: their frequent live collaborative exploits here come in the form of some great backing vocals from Wintermute, the charmingly hectic rough-round-the-edges methodology is represented by some scuzzy, retro lo-fi production and not forgetting, either, the often sexually dubious nature of sets, neatly covered by the title.
On the flipside, “The Lighthouse” carries on in a similarly hyperactive style, again more a feisty disco juggernaut than all-out heaviness, complete with some thematic ‘Macho’ yelping and condensed into a more typically strophic and monothematic pop-like approach. The verse-chorus structure, though, allows for a short middle eight with a brilliant, wailing tremolo-picked guitar solo. “Super Hang-on” is even more diminutive, at just one minute forty, but equally holds its own against its two lengthier companions. Quite simply a sort of mix-and-match motivic game, playing about with short musical ideas, with more ‘gang vocals’ as group phrase-style anchors.
It is in no way a substitute for the exuberance of their live spirit, but it certainly provides a tantalising snapshot of their might. And who can resist the concept of portable Pulled Apart by Horses anarchy? Macho indeed.