Soft As Butter, Hard As Ice
02 March 2011
by Andy Parker
Why cock about with guitars when you can have two bassists? That’s the mantra of Palehorse, the London quartet that have been grinding on and off for over a decade. 2008’s Habitual Linestepper saw their return after an eight year hiatus – during which saw some of the members gaining acclaim in post-punk mob Million Dead, alongside masterful lyricist but ultimately pretentious-tool-turned-folk-bore, Frank Turner.
Shortly after that release, founding member and vocalist Seedi called time on his part in Palehorse, leaving a huge enigmatic hole to be filled by Nikolai Grune and the latest addition to the band, Mark Dicker. Their latest offering Soft As Butter; Hard As Ice deviates from the aforementioned collection and steers back 180 to where they left off with on Gee That Ain’t Swell. It’s dirty, stooped in slow grind and has a far more morbid curiosity about it.
‘Challenge Hannuka’ consists of contorted passages carrying the frustration and confusion of the inner thoughts projected by Nikolai Grune. This is a far more relaxed affair compared to previous releases and it is most welcoming allowing for their talent as songwriters to shine through now less Iron Monkey and more akin to Slint or even Shellac. They have traversed comfortable the line between grind to post-rock without missing a disjointed beat.
‘Fill Your Ears With Wax’ is soothing in its melancholic yet despite it’s almost dulcet tones the lyrical content is angry, disbelieving and venomous. Soft As Butter; Hard As Ice shows that Palehorse are still an act with so much to give and are really only just starting to get out of bed. It would be amazing to see them touring outside of the M25 a little more this year and we hope that we don’t have to wait 3 years for our next installment. The track titles alone are enough for a purchase, with closer ‘Morbid Angel Delight’ frankly being one of the greatest titles I’ve seen in a good decade.
Listen to ‘Shit Columbo’ by Palehorse:
It’s still going to be a little bitey for some to enjoy on a Sunday morning with the paper and a spot of brunch, but for me this is total bliss. One thing that has always excited me about Palehorse, is just how warm two basses can sound and also reminds you how wonderful an instrument it is when not in the hands of wankmeisters like Flea.
Sounds Like: Old Man Gloom, Red Sparrowes, Russian Circles
Top Tracks: How To Avoid Huge Riffs, Challenge Hannukah, Probably Wont Do That Live
Palehorse – Soft As Butter; Hard As Ice tracklisting:
Skip To The End
South London, Where Dreams Are Aloud To Breathe
I Wish We Could Go Back And Do All This Again
Probably Won’t Do That Live
Don’t Come Knocking When I’m Listening To Dokken
Fill Your Ears With Wax
How To Avoid Huge Riffs
Morbid Angel Delight