How to make an excellent album while totally lacking in originality: here is the recipe of Horsegirl, who with their Versions of Modern Performanceshamelessly celebrate the cult of a noisy Indie Rock that’s over 30 years old.
It must be recognized that for anyone who, like us, has a horror of nostalgia in general and in music in particular, the first listening to Versions of Modern Performancethe debut album by horse girl is not encouraging. There’s not much here that we haven’t heard, especially in the 90s, from bands – who were our darlings at the time – like sonic youth, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo… But, as these are not bad references, on the contrary, and as it never helped anything to be limited or to listen to his bad mood, it was also necessary to admit that the single Anti Glory was almost stunning. And it was hard not to come back. Again and again. And this is how an album initially rejected, by dint of tenacity and patience, manages to appear very high in the list of our pleasures (guilty, a little) of the year 2022.
horse girlit’s a power trio (which is, let’s remind the amnesiacs among us, the perfect guitar/bass/drums combination to play Rock that beats, gets straight to the point, and doesn’t bother with frills), formed by three very young women (which is undeniably a big plus when you’re a little tired after all these years, old guitar machos), moreover from Chicago (we say “moreover”, but we must recognize that Chicago has never had anything of a nursery for Indie Rock, and we won’t even be able to name a handful of notable people from the “City of the Winds” in the genre that interests us here: Wilco, The Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt…). The girls are thought to be the best that has come out of Chicago’s teen rock scene, and their album has enjoyed support from people like the ex-sonic youth Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley (who play on two titles) or the producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr.), which should not surprise us!
We can predict today that despite the clever, vaguely post-modern titles of their songs, no Nobel Prize for Literature will ever reward the songwriting of horse girl, whose song lyrics clearly take a back seat behind the sound of the guitars… And we quickly see what kind of music we are dealing with here: Rock played by very young people who deeply love it, for an audience that has been fed on noise. Even in the most uncomfortable pieces (The Fall of Horsegirlwhere the text is particularly inventive: “ One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six »!) and in the slightly bizarre instrumental interludes (The Guitar Is Deadlittle joke on the piano, bog bog 1, Electrolocation 2), the album never departs from a clear dose of youthful excitement.
But that’s when they look for something more melodic, like on the aptly named Beautiful Song Or on World of Pots and Pans that we say to ourselves that, beyond this diabolical ease that girls have in pressing all the buttons that make us feel good, there may well be a good future group in the making here. But that’s the second album that will tell us. Or not.