I heard a rumour a while back that summer would soon be upon us. Considering I’m sat writing this while hail stones assault my windows, I won’t hold my breath. But, should the seasons ever change and the sun grace us with his burny presence, I think I’ve found the chilled soundtrack to your summer. ‘Held By Horses’ are a young four piece from the depths of Essex who, despite the hardcore connotations that all ‘by horses’ bands seem to hold, play delightfully catchy soft-rock tunes.
Looking at them, you’d be surprised they were old enough to play in any venues but, as is the case more and more nowadays, their youth gives them edge. Their sound is fresh, sincere and uncomplicated. Too many bands in similar genres try and set themselves apart by stretching their talents far beyond their capabilities, yet Held By Horses know what works for them and stick to it. By no means is their sound uninspiring or samey, but solid.
Refreshingly, for a female-fronted band, their singer does not try and sound like Hayley Williams. This fact on its own surely merits a listen? I’ve lost count of the number of shows I’ve gone to where there’s a tiny redhead on stage forcing unnatural tones through her face, trying painfully to replace her Dagenham accent with a Tennessee one. No. Tiny vocalist Harriet Reynolds has a wonderfully individual, quirky tone to her voice (rather akin to that of Ellie Goulding) which is allowed to take centre stage without being overpowered by heavy basslines or distracting riffs. While Reynolds is understandably the main focus or selling point of the band, it couldn’t be so without the solid backing of the rest of the band who, despite not attempting any particularly complicated passages, are all compelling and accomplished musicians and performers.
With a new EP (‘In History’) due soon, they’re definitely a band you’ll want to get your teeth into. Until then, why not head on over to their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/heldbyhorses and have a listen to the few tracks they have available for streaming. ‘Who We Are’ is a particularly catchy offering with a particularly sweet, summery riff and a chorus that can’t help but get you swaying. As far as lyrics go, there’s a few clichés thrown around, but overall, they’re bloody good. Who We Are is also accompanied with a video, should you wish to go snooping. Nicely filmed with a running University-themed storyline, but the obligatory ‘band in a forest’ shots are a little too sedate to make the necessary impact the track requires. ‘Give You The World’ is my particular favourite; it’s upbeat, peppy, and works as a great showcase of Reynolds’ beautiful tones. While I urge you to listen to all tracks on offer, their cover of J-J-J-Jessie J’s ‘Do It Like A Dude’ is an odd one, but well worth your time. It baffles and entertains be in equal measure. One can’t help but think that a tempo change would make it fit in far better with their repertoire, but nevertheless, give it a go – it’s an interesting take.
Held By Horses may not be breaking down any barriers in terms of re-inventing the genre, but what they do create is not only music, but an entire atmosphere that one can’t help but be absorbed into. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them high up on festival billings in no time at all.