Horsegirl Channel Post-punk Sounds of the Past and Future on Debut LP ‘Versions of Modern Performance’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Cheryl Dunn

Formed in Chicago, Horsegirl seems like an unlikely group to be drawing inspiration from the indie bands of the 90s and early 2000s. Mainly because no one in the trio was even alive in the 90s and were still in elementary school as the first decade of the new millennium drew to a close. However, with their debut album Versions of Modern Performance, Horsegirl deliver a compelling album that clearly draws on inspiration from bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, Belle & Sebastian and The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. 

From the opening track “Anti-glory,” the listener is instantly drawn in with the post-punk vibe of the pounding drums and pulsing bass. In contrast, on “Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)” the sound is more 90s indie pop along the lines of Pavement and Built To Spill. Their love of Sonic Youth really shines through on the noise rock of “The Fall of Horsegirl” and “Electrocation 2,” the later being an instrumental interlude. “Beautiful Song” finds the vocals straying from the  usual dead pan vocals of other songs and are reminiscent of Emily Haines of Metric. On “Live and Ski” guitarist Penelope Lowenstein and bassist Nora Cheng harmonize on a song that would feel at home on an album by The Breeders.

While Horsegirl have drawn on a lot of inspirations from the past, they have managed to create a sound that is completely their own. Just as bands of every decade drew on inspiration from those that came before them, Horsegirl both reminds listeners of the past and promises a bright future. Coming out of a decade where many bands decided to incorporate electronics (for better or worse) into their sounds, it is refreshing to hear the new generation of bands returning to more traditional rock instrumentation. Horsegirl not only does this, but does it well.

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