Pulled Apart By Horses are many things. They are one of the best, most entertaining live bands in Britain. They are purveyors of unpretentious, raucous, sweaty rock, and irreverently humorous, shouty vocals. They also provided us with one of the best albums of 2010. So it's perfect fodder for a piano reinterpretation then, yes?
If you choked yourself on that last bit there, then you haven't heard Matt Emery's covers of PABH's tunes on his youtube channel, and subsequently his upcoming cover EP, aptly called Pulled Apart By Matt Emery. Matt Emery covers 4 tracks by Pulled Apart By Horses, and he somehow manages to successfully incorporate the etherial, atmospheric nature of his Elysian Fields album with the furious intensity of Pulled Apart By Horses.
Read more, listen to tracks off the EP, and download the EP after the JUMP.
The record starts with 'High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive,' and with opening lyrics 'I'll make you dance with my balls on fire,' you would be forgiven in thinking that this seeming mismatch would all go horribly very quickly. But alas, as soon as the piano kicks in, everything makes sense.
High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive by MattEmery
When you're covering Pulled Apart By Horses, there's no way you can play it straight, just by definition. With this self-awareness present throughout the EP, Emery plays to the 'bodacious' lyrics to perfection, taming the seemingly untamable, and emulating the sounds of a Transylvanian pub sing-along like it's second nature to him. 'Yeah Buddy' (and its acapella sister) is the perfect encapsulation of this. With flowing notes and a voice bordering somewhere inbetween shouty and ethereal, it's probably my favourite of the flock.
'Back To The Fuck Yeah' puts the piano to the side and gets an acoustic guitar involved. This still does not detract away from the atmosphere Emery has built up, and in fact adds a welcome dimension to what is already an impressive EP. 'I Punched A Lion In The Throat' is probably the most straight-forward of the five tracks, yet it's also one of the most haunting - at least as haunting a cover of Pulled Apart By Horses can be. The otherwise absurd cries of 'I punched a lion in the throat,' 'ultimate power' and 'maximum life' here become something completely different altogether.
I Punched A Lion In The Throat by MattEmery
The final track is an acapella version of 'Yeah Buddy.' What a way to close a record. Impressive in its ambition and subsequent successful execution, it could've easily gone into cheap comedic territory, especially (again) with a track as playful as 'Yeah Buddy'. Yes, with lyrics like '800 pounds of heavy metal, yeah!', there's always going to be humorous elements, and Emery doesn't attempt to avoid it altogether. It's just refreshing to hear a cover that can be both played for laughs and also legitimately count as a beautiful piece of music.
You can also find this review on Musical Mathematics.
P.S. I also recommend that you listen to Matt's own music, especially his brilliant album, Elysian Fields. Matt has also done an acoustic session for the blog previously. Matt Emery also plays for the amazing indie powerpop band Stagecoach.
Over and out
You can now download the EP HERE.