The Horn The Hunt – Wovo (Gpig Records) 1

The Horn The Hunt – Wovo (Gpig Records)

1536Even before they had released their last record – the huge, dramatic opus that is Terrafidella The Horn The Hunt had already begun work on its follow up. Between April and October of last year, the duo of Clare Carter and Joseph Osborne embarked upon an intense period of creativity that would eventually produce their fourth full-length album Wovo.

The two records converge at a point where land meets sea. But whereas Terrafidella was inspired by the wide-open spaces of an often inhospitable landscape, Wovo seeks out water as its companion, guiding light and ultimate source of salvation. Clare Carter speaks of her strong connection to the ocean and from the record’s cover that captures her totally submerged in its elements to the gentle sound of the sea at Runswick Bay on the North Yorkshire coast as it percolates through both the album’s opening and closing tracks, there are constant reminders of its presence.

The natural environment is key to the very essence of The Horn The Hunt sound. Its existence influences the organic nature of their music, free as it is of any artifice, any programming and one in which they first lay down a firm foundation stone of bass, guitar and drums – the latter courtesy of the band’s live drummer Conor Lawrence – over which they then add layer upon layer of monophonic analogue synthesiser and Clare Carter’s remarkable voice.

Carter’s phrasing recalls that of Björk as she glides up and down the musical scale; compelling, passionate and a sheer natural force, it vacillates between a breathy whisper and a volcanic explosion without ever lapsing into any of the bombast that can impact upon some of the Icelandic singer’s work. There is also some of the more brittle texture of a young Kate Bush in Carter’s voice as she reflects the vulnerability of the natural surroundings into which her words have taken her.

Yet for all that Carter’s voice remains the focal point of The Horn The Hunt, it is Osborne’s accompaniment that is the music’s life breath and heartbeat. The two central elements fuse together quite perfectly. On the record’s sublime opening song ‘Watching The Waves’ they manage to somehow conjoin the otherworldliness of the Cocteau Twins with 80’s synth pop and make it sound like something you have never heard before. And then on ‘Solar Flare Off My Heart’, Osborne’s glorious chiming guitar parts form a perfect union with Carter’s message to love as they once more combine to craft the most gorgeous of pop melodies.

‘Albatross’ is rife with uncertainty, the song’s loping rhythm and the poignancy of the melodica’s refrain pointing towards a different perspective of The Horn The Hunt’s metaphysical landscape as they gradually retreat from the world of the popular song. It is something that the ominous presence of ‘Be The Prey’ reinforces as the lament in Carter’s voice slowly begins to unravel before us. Here they have encountered the darkness that exists on the other side.

It seems strangely fitting to learn that the album’s closing song ‘Lanzarote’ was recorded at the Henry Moore Institute in the band’s home town of Leeds, an exhibition space that celebrates the work of a man who did so much in his sculptures to get back to nature. On Wovo and through the power, diversity and continual exploration of their music, The Horn The Hunt have undertaken a similar journey. It is one that marks their coming of age.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Wovo was released on the 2nd of March 2015 through The Horn The Hunt’s own label Gpig Records via their Bandcamp page, as a digital download and 12” Vinyl LP with artwork by Clare Carter.

The album will then follow on iTunes and many other digital stores.

To coincide with the release of Wovo, The Horn The Hunt have unveiled the official video to the album’s title track

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