Kylesa are playing at the HMV Institute tonight. They are an amazing, American Stoner-Metal band that have been going for over ten years, have toured the globe tirelessly in that time and have several albums under their belt, the last two of which received glowing critical acclaim. They are performing upstairs tonight, playing the 300-capacity Temple venue. In comparison, Pulled Apart By Horses are a paltry five years old, two albums into their career and already the Leeds 4-piece are commanding silly-big crowds, (near 600 this evening) and are here in Birmingham to play the Library stage of the Institute. Tonight, (Monday night, no less) they’ve a packed-out room to entertain (including one cynical individual pushing 30-years old, who would really rather be upstairs watching one of his favourite bands), and entertain they do.
Sounding like it was concocted in a grotty, smelly, post-hardcore laboratory, their jerky, poppy, tongue-in-cheek brand of punk invokes the spirit of countless bands, present and past. Where these boys get things so absolutely, unequivocally, inarguably right, however, is having fun with it. Three minutes is about the most a PABH song lasts, and in that time you get big riffs, screamy, yelping vocals, and some delightfully spidery guitar lines reminiscent of Blood Brothers, Glassjaw; possibly even moments of Les Savy Fav and previous touring partners Biffy Clyro.
Importantly, the vocals only ever really dip a toe into the true ‘screamo’ sound. There’s always a much needed restraint to singer Tom Hudson’s performance, bombastic as it is, that breathes an accessibility into the band’s sound. In other words, if you’ve loved the instrumentation of bands like this before, but have been put off by the indecipherable, throat-shredding leanings of their frontmen, in PABH you may well find your new favourite band.
New single, ‘V.E.N.O.M,’ which has been bothering alternative radio playlists nationwide since its release at the tail-end of last year, gets a corking reception from the crowd after a LOT of requests. Heading up the new album, ‘Tough Love,’ which has been out barely a month, ‘V.E.N.O.M,’ follows a similar template to that used in many of their songs- that is, a catchy, twiddly guitar intro followed by a driving, punky verse/chorus/verse segment, followed by a build up which then climaxes in a massive, loud, distortion-drenched riff.
Admittedly a very wordy, not particularly revealing analysis, but for good reason. They are a great live band, never stand still for more than half a bloody second, encouraging lots of jumping and screaming along (again, it’s a Monday), and most importantly, looking like they are really enjoying themselves. The only problem is, Pulled Apart By Horses, like so many bands, only really have one song. Luckily for them, that song is REALLY good and is going to entertain a shitload of people for what looks like being a long time to come.
Review – Jake Dowding
Photos – Alex Dean