Instagram Soundcloud Spotify

Curving Through the Dark – Dark Horses’ “Hail Lucid State”

Dark Horses
Hail Lucid State
Last Gang Records

Written by:

Arcing somewhere between dangerous dark synth pop and Curve-obsessed indie, it’s no surprise Dark Horses arrive on these shores with the ‘hotly-tipped’ label hanging from their neck, a designation that, despite the likes of Nick Cave’s blessing, is well-known for snuffing bands out in the cradle via the weight of expectation and the lash of critics’ skepticism. On sophomore release Hail Lucid State, however, the band disperses any such concern in the most direct manner imaginable, by having the tunes to back it up. Destined to steal away a share of Poliça’s fevered spotlight, swinging as Dark Horses do on a similar sultry/serrated fulcrum, this Brighton band excel in evoking that atmosphere of an urban dread injected by a generous frisson of the neon-lit erotic. The mix is heady and mostly irresistible.

“Wise Blood” sets alley howls of guitar in contiguous tension with Lisa Elle’s sang-froid seductress vocal, the title track builds into a mountainous grandeur atop a compulsive post-punky rhythm section, “Wake Up” delves well into the deep, bass-dwelling dark half of their name before laying a pop-hooked chorus of a lover’s conviction over the top, ending up with an album highlight, while closer “Western” soaks the ground with reverb as it echoes with a survivor’s despair that aches with the same starched blues as one Erica M. Anderson. Though a couple of tracks – “Saturn Returns,” for instance – feel a bit swamped in the generica of the genre, a lot of flash, not much smoke, Hail Lucid State is mostly a sonically arresting portrait of a young band flush with the sense of their own arrival.