Music News

An Horse Reviews the Reviews

Noisy and melodic Australian guitar-and-drums duo An Horse — which channels the scrappy spirit of such "college rock" icons as Throwing Muses, The Spinanes, and Blake Babies — comes back to town behind its excellent new sophomore album, Walls. We caught up with super-friendly singer/guitarist Kate Cooper to get her take on some reviews of the LP:

"Their music is to pop as hardcore is to punk, with the Joey Ramone fillip of Cooper's bizarre pronunciation." (MSN Music)

Wow, well, that's heady, isn't it? Very meta. I think that's cool. I think hardcore and pop should interact more. Being compared to Joey Ramone is the best thing I've ever heard. I'm honored.

"Whereas their first album, 2009's Rearrange Beds, was a virtual onslaught of distorted guitars and heavy drums, the songs here . . . feel more thoughtfully paced and structured, and take longer to build to a climax." (Blast Magazine)

I would say that's a fair appraisal. The first happened when we weren't a band; we were just mucking around. This album came after I don't know how many hundreds of shows we played together. All I did differently this time was I got to write the songs and I didn't have to go to work at 6 a.m.

"Ninety percent of popular music obsesses with love. But Cooper and Cox seem like they suffered breakups minutes before they walked into the studio." (

[Laughs] Wow. I actually have thought about this. People say to me, 'What do you sing about?' I sing about what's going on in my life, and often people assume it's a breakup. But it's honestly not. I'm very happily settled down. But, yeah, it's good that they hear that the music's emotional.

"Cooper's emotionally shadowy lyrics burrow into the personal tensions we try to forget but can't escape." (Rolling Stone)

That's cool. I guess I do that. Again, it's so hard when people ask me about my lyrics. I'm like, 'I dunno, what do you think it means?' It's difficult for me to talk about what I've written. That's why I sing it. Because then it's done and I've dealt with it and I move on.

"On their second album, this Aussie duo's buzzy guitar pop is more hyper and gripping than ever, as Cooper breathlessly spews dramatic tales that have the immediacy of crazed Twitter posts. She's exhausting, but never dull." (Spin)

Hey, I'm 30 years old, I was around approximately 28 years before Twitter! I thought that was slightly unfair [laughs]. I think that maybe I get pinned down for this exhausting, dramatic prose, and it's, like, I listen to Fugazi, I listen to Death Cab, and I listen to their lyrics and theirs are just as dramatic as mine, if not more so. I think to myself, is this sometimes an easy criticism because I'm a woman? It's weird. I never get called emo — that's like a dude's territory. But I get called dramatic and, whatever, I guess. Sometimes it's really hard being a woman doing this. Sometimes I wonder why there's not as many women doing this, and then I realize it's sometimes an easy shot for people to take, that we're too dramatic or exhausting. That's what's exhausting!

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Michael Alan Goldberg