The Exorcist of art rock

Das Wanderlust - Horses for Courses
There’s nothing more terrifying than corrupted innocence. Forget zombies, vampires or chainsaws—the scariest movies are those about little kids gone evil. That’s what makes Horses for Courses, the debut full-length by British trio Das Wanderlust more terrifying than any death metal band. The group’s mixture of twee pop and abrasive art rock is as unsettling as it is infectious, with goofy 8-bit keyboards set against fractured blasts of guitar and drums.

This dichotomy is best captured by “Puzzle,” which pairs singer Laura Simmons’s soft, girlish vocals with thundering crescendos and creepy keyboard arpeggios. The song ultimately breaks into a propulsive major-key outro with wordless yelps that evoke the joyous mayhem of Ponytail. It’s one of the only moments of catharsis on the album, most of which favours threatening buildups and bone-chilling screams. Even when the band momentarily scales back, as on “We’re All Doomed,” Simmons builds tension with quivering singing and high, gasping breaths; this inevitably explodes into jarring noise rock fireworks.

mp3: “We’re All Doomed”

Das Wanderlust’s sound is based primarily around Simmons’s vocal transformations, with arrangements that seem to move in accordance to her freakouts. Still, the band is hardly a one trick pony: the collection’s only true ballad, “Turn to Grey,” is perhaps the best song on the lot. With plunking piano and tinkling glockenspiel playing off a fluttering snare beat, it feels like it blow up at any second; it never does, and you can’t help but breath a sigh of relief when the song slows to a gradual halt. It shows that, as well as making a glorious racket, Das Wanderlust knows how to toy with listeners’ emotions, a talent that sets the band above the majorty of its noise rock contemporaries.

Horses for Courses is out now via Don’t Tell Clare.
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One Comment

  1. tyler
    Posted August 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    new site looks amazing!!!

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