Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

The best new album I’ve heard this year: Being Dead’s When Horses Would Run reviewed

Punky surf guitar with complex, catchy melodies and an agreeably surreal sense of humour

Grade: A–

The point of a sudden, abrupt change in the time signature and instrumentation of a song is to surprise the listener and undermine his or her expectations. If, however, you do it in every song, then the point is lost, and the listener finds himself actually waiting for the weirdness
to begin.

So it is with Being Dead – and it’s about the only thing I have to carp about, because overall When Horses Would Run is a lovely album, full of often complex but always catchy melodies and imbued with an agreeably surreal sense of humour. The band is comprised of Falcon Bitch, Gumball and Ricky Moto and they come from Austin, Texas. Their shtick is punky surf guitar on top of which those clever tunes are sung as if by a cathedral choir in falsetto. There are whoops and Beach Boys harmonies and always a kind of descent into some sort of madness, which works more often than it does not. ‘Muriel’s Big Day Off’ tells the story of the lady in question enjoying a spot of shoplifting accompanied by perky ‘whoos’ and handclaps before it morphs into cocktail jazz. The title track is a beautiful, rather stately waltz and ‘God vs Bible’, which lasts for less than a minute, consists of the band repeating the line: ‘If God owned a bible he’d read it every day.’ I am not sure what they expect us to take from that. Possibly nothing – I’m not sure they give a monkey’s.

How to categorise? Perhaps they are a less sinister Pixies, with better tunes and more capable instrumentation. No great problem with that – it’s the best new album I’ve heard this year.