The Horn The Hunt
47:47 min (Standard), 73:31 min (Deluxe) • Gpig Records • July 7, 2014
Andrew Darley reviews
When Polari interviewed Clare Carter of The Horn The Hunt in 2013, she described how the band had developed a desire to create a record that “played to the human pulse rather than a computer”. Starting out as an experiment in 2008 using synthesizers and programmed beats, Clare and fellow bandmate Joseph Osbourne are now a fully-fledged act. Terrafidella is their third record, in which they embark on this desire by using live drums, prominent basslines and sparse arrangements, resulting in a warmer and more tactile sound.
Based on the adventures of a girl who wanders into the desert, the album features various stories and memories as she experiences them in the wilderness. Two versions of the album exist; a standard 11-song version and an 18-song double album, featuring seven extra songs, including intermittent instrumentals that expand on its world. Its title, Terrafidella, is coined from the combination of Latin words for ‘land’ and ‘faithful’. The music, imagery and the words are deeply engrained in landscape and its presence. It’s clear why they chose the name the album in this way; its lyrics explore how interchangeable people are with the environment, as we hear the protagonist internalize her surroundings and how they shape the emotions of the music. The image of the mountain that opens the record is both a physical entity and a metaphor for her own internal struggle. Likewise, the “chest” Clare sings of in ‘A Deeper Kiss’ is a treasure she finds, but doubles as a reference to her own body and internal world.
As the album takes us on a journey through the land, it is very much about where our minds roam when we are left in solitude. The lyrics are contemplative and confrontational as they wade through memories, insecurities and hope. Unsurprisingly then, a theme that runs through the album is about facing those fears and past hurts that hold us from living in the present. On ‘Gold’, she urges both herself and listeners to turn their “doubts and fears into gold”. They take the opportunity of a double album to create a tangible realm for listeners to experience as they venture several different sounds and moods. There are flashes of galloping rock in the Wild West, shimmering mid-tempos and instrumentals that instil the silence experienced under nature’s gaze.
However, it’s not only the band’s sonic progression that stands out on this album; Clare’s voice has certainly come into its own. On their previous records, it felt at times as though she channeled some singers that she admired as a way of figuring out her own, including the likes of Björk and Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife. Here we find that she has unlocked her own voice, that is refreshing and brimming with charisma. She defiantly sings with her whole body, from the sultry coos on ‘Lungs’ to the boisterous growls on ‘Thalassa’. She is tuned into the frequency of each song and plays with her range to take them where they need to go.
There’s no question Clare and Joseph have found a sense of mastery in their music. Their experiments and aural assaults on past albums have enabled them to unearth their own ground. While its predecessor, Depressur Jolie, was a frantic teenager shouting to be heard, Terrafidella reigns this energy into a sensuality, whilst still winking at their latent ferocity. It triumphantly rings in imagery and emotion; it’s an album you can feel the heat of the surroundings in the desert, the plummeting temperatures at night while the wide-open sky is speckled with stars.
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