Houston trio Funeral Horse occupy some pretty nebulous sonic space. At root in their style is a classic punk sensibility — their riffs are for the most part simple and there’s little on their second outing, Sinister Rites of the Master (review here), that one would consider “frilled” — but to call them “punk” or even “stoner punk” conveys only a fraction of the influences through which their album establishes itself. They debuted last summer with the Savage Audio Demon tape (review here), and that showed the potential for what the three-piece do on the follow-up, but in the layered solos of “Until the Last Nation Falls” and the harmonica-laden drawl and spaciousness of “I Hear the Devil Calling Me,” guitarist/vocalist Paul Bearer, bassist Jason Argonaut and drummer Chris Larmour tell a tale of adventurous sonic diversity that serves them incredibly well throughout their sophomore effort’s course.
The album is out now on Artificial Head Records, and in no small way, I’m thrilled to be able to stream it because I feel like thus far, none of the descriptions I’ve yet given have really done justice to the kind of creativity Funeral Horse have at their core. I’m not saying they’re revolutionaries, just that for a band to work within a genre while also feeling so free to toy with various aspects in and out of it while also keeping their songs cohesive and fluid is rare, and Sinister Rites of the Master does stand up on a front to back listen. As you make your way through the seven tracks, keep in mind the side break after “Communist’s Blues,” since the two parts of the LP go far in defining its structure, but even taken in one sitting, the songs stand up all the way down to the loose-knit garage style of “Stoned and Furious” and the Rush cover “Working Man” that closes out.
However you choose to take it on — 333 copies of the vinyl are pressed, so if you want to go that route, time may be a factor — Sinister Rites of the Master offers a listen worthy of the effort, and like its predecessor, speaks volumes to the potential of the band. Since you can hear it for yourself and since I keep coming up short with it anyway, I’ll leave it there.
Hope you enjoy:
Funeral Horse‘s Sinister Rites of the Master was produced by Stephen Finley and Paul Bearer at Digital Warehaus Studio in Houston and is available now on Artificial Head in a pressing of 333 hand-numbered, multi-color vinyl copies. More info at the links:Artificial Head Records, Funeral Horse, Funeral Horse Sinister Rites of the Master, Houston, Sinister Rites of the Master, Texas