Pulled Apart by Horses: Tough Love Sessions – album review

Pulled Apart by Horses – Tough Love Sessions
Available now 

To mark the success Pulled Apart By Horses have enjoyed with their second effort they have released Tough Love Sessions. To see that it goes out with a bang rather than a whimper it finds a home for a host of off cuts, b-sides, live tracks and demos on a bonus disc.

The original album, first released at the beginning of the year, is a more coherent effort than the collection of outstanding individual songs found on their self-titled debut. Marked by a change in writing from the band, Tough Love houses well composed songs as opposed to a hamper of firecracker riffs ham-fisted together. It sounds every bit like a dark and dirty Nirvana circa ‘In Utero’, and they recently expressed an interest in working with ‘In Utero’ producer Steve Albini. Take a look at the recent interview the band did with LTW here.

Nirvana are the shared influence that all members of PABH have in common. As such their appreciation for the recently “reformed” grunge giants goes deeper than simply wearing a T-shirt, just-to-look-cool, in the video for Tough Love’s second single ‘Wolf Hand’.

The bonus disc features a tribute to their drummer in the form of old b-side ‘Grave Dohl’. But the Nirvana love-in does not end there. A live cover of ‘Tourettes’ is featured, and with its relentless energy and brilliant simplicity, it is one of the most highly covered Nirvana songs.

More obscure covers to feature on Tough Love Sessions include Sky Larkin’s ‘Somersault’, and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Blue Jeans’. The later pushes them away from the high-octane rock that they are famed for but rather like a circus sideshow of freaks, sits uncomfortably with me. I come to the Pulled Apart By Horses big top wanting somersaults rather than an indie matinee. The programme should read of immediately powerful riffs that will act as a soundtrack to audience members yelping “wahoo” or another similarly vigorous exclamations.

Saved from the “b-side bin” energetic delights such as ‘Spooky Wooky’ and ‘I Might As Well’ pepper the bonus disc of Tough Love. But if you really want the aural equivalent of being hit in the face with a big stinking fish, try the power of ‘Motivation’ or pertinacious riffs in ‘PWR’, which include Tom Hudson’s infectious signature yells of “yeah”. These, his two favourite Deluxe edition songs, cut from first disc to make it a quick thirty-minute blast, are arguably the best of what is altogether an odd basket.

In their own words it is a gathering of all the extra little bits that has been whacked together. Tough Love Sessions then is aimed at those who want more tough loving but missed out on the sold out vinyl singles first time around.

All words by Bruce Cousins. You can read more from Bruce on LTW here.

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