Dragged By Horses Deep in the Woods

[HighWheel; 2008]

Styles: skeletal update on hardcore, distortion- and scream-free
Others: Mclusky, Park Attack, Helmet, Shellac, Unsane, Drives Like Jehu/RFTC

Dragged By Horses tend to regress suddenly, losing the massive momentum they’ve built with half-baked tracks like “Peaceful Endings” and trailer-rocker “Depth Charge.” (My favorite lyrical passage? The part ’bout “lightning power,” yesiree.) At their worst, they make music that sounds unsure, like it didn’t have to be made, like... filler.

There are also times when Dragged By Horses mimic the power and depth of ragers like Shellac, undercut by a current of the drumnastics of bands like Don Caballero and The Ladies. That’s a good thing. The serviceable (if that) vocals seem like less of a problem when the DBH triumvirate locks into formation and eagle-swoops downward, then bounds off only to bounce back over and over again, propelled by Chris Jaster’s pop-up kick drum and a guitar narrative that stays interesting through the duration of the story.

But man, those sour moments--that’s not gonna be good for anyone. If Dragged By Horses focused intently on cutting the fat, they’d end up slicing up much of the competition as well. Until then, they’re just another band with an obvious spark who can’t recognize their own weaknesses well enough to do anything about them. Quite common, really.

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