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(40:52, ‘Dozing Lady’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Hold the Bear Close to the Lightning 4:04 2. Cocaine Dracula 3:55 3. Fharlanghn 5:23 4. Termite Art 8:55 5. 4DJ 3:50 6. Progeria Tango 5:47 7. Turning N2U 8:58 LINEUP: Mike Farmer – vocals; percussion Rafe Heltsley – guitars, mandolin Matt Bitner – bass; vocals David Prater – keyboards Josh Hines – drums
Prolusion. The US act TECHNOLOGY VS HORSE has been around in one shape or another for the past six years or so, and released their first album "Teddy Jam" towards the end of 2005. "Bearula: The Bear Dracula" is their third production, and was issued in the spring of 2009 on the local Kentucky label Dozing Lady Records.
Analysis. The borderline between mainstream, indie and progressive rock is one that often is challenged by artists these days. There is something of a trend towards blending art rock details in particular into more mainstream-oriented material, crafting music with sophisticated touches and intricate details that for many will result in a sound and approach hovering on the borderlines of the art rock universe. Technology Vs Horse is a good example of such an act: undefinable in nature, incorporating a multitude of stylistic influences into their own peculiar musical universe. Take a piece like Termite Art for instance. Space-tinged, fluctuating synth textures and energetic rhythms are the common denominators in this rather schizophrenic excursion, where the initial movement could have been lifted from an Eminem production, but after a few minutes heads straight into a more elongated theme, blending characteristics of indie and psychedelic rock with a partially swirling and partially staccato guitar motif as a key feature, and ends up as a seemingly more simplistic affair laced with aggression and a notable influence from punk, all the time with those space-tinged synths fluctuating above, mind you. Opening track Hold the Bear Close to the Lightning is another kettle of fish entirely, blending aggressive post-punk with a somewhat more atmospheric post-rock expression, while Progerian Tango takes 80's synth pop, adds a bit of acid and speed to the proceedings, and laces it all together with indie rock, a disharmonic piano-dominated tango-inspired chorus and a bit of hip hop Eminem-style. The dark, fluctuating synths and atmospheric mandolin that are key features of the fantasy tale Fharlanghn explores a rather different side to the band again, this time well within art rock territories as well, and final effort Turning N2U is, despite the use of letters and numbers instead of words that might indicate a more mainstream-oriented affair, an effort that blends space rock with psychedelic details, a bit of synth pop and funk. Well-made music, unpredictable and undefinable, and not a production that seeks to explore musical territories explored by others on regular occasions. Personally I find them brilliant at their best and lacklustre on other occasions: adventurous music for sure. The band members' blend of different musical styles makes them rather challenging for a prog rock-oriented crowd as well, although for stylistic rather than compositional reasons as such.
Conclusion. If you have a positive attitude towards a band that doesn't adhere to previously defined stylistic ideas, blending a multitude of details from a plethora of genres into their compositions, and you enjoy having your musical tastes and notions challenged, then Technology Vs Horse is a band worth seeking out. You may not like or enjoy every single one of their musical exploits, but the appealing ones will make this musical adventure one worthwhile taking on.
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