Title: Horae, a three-song EP.
Basics: Billing themselves as an "electronic/rock" band, this Tucson foursome formed in 2008 and recently opened for Neon Indian. That got my attention since Psychic Chasms was one of my favorite albums of 2009 and Neon Indian's November show in Phoenix was just as fantastic.
Neon Indian these guys ain't, but they still do plenty of things right on their EP. However, they sound much more like their punk influences (they claim AFI as inspiration) than most other bands claiming to be "electro" anything.
Best Song: The opener "Mind Without a Heart" dismisses its totally cornball name and sets the perfect tempo for the three-song EP. There are hints of that fast-paced, post-punk drumming that Bloc Party made famous on their 2005 debut, Silent Alarm, as well as some noticeable keys in the background, which did a lot to help me figure how Horae claims to be an "electronic/rock" band.
Worst Song: The EP closer "The Audition." This is probably the most electronic-sounding song in the bunch -- which isn't saying much since I had a difficult time hearing any serious electronic sound/influences on the EP. The track features exhausting vocals that prove to be too distractingly underwhelming. Listening to this song I understand where the band likes to claim AFI as influence. In 2010, that isn't a good thing.
Suggested Changes: If you listen to British, French, or even Swedish electronic/rock music you'll have trouble figuring out how Horae claims to be an "electronic/rock" band. This EP comes off as more pop-punk than electronic or rock. Yes, the vocals have a lot do to with that, but so does the striking lack of any real synthesizers or keyboards -- or creative use of them when they are there -- on the EP. An occasional electronic blip or keyboard riff does not make something "electronic." Use 'em or lose the posturing.
If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street
Phoenix , AZ 85032