A FORMAL HORSE – Made in Chelsea
The British prog rock outfit A Formal Horse (you gotta love that band name!) recently released this excellent 5-track EP entitled "Made in Chelsea" both digitally and on CD. Boasting an organic production and a crunchy sound, the band wastes no time in captivating the listener by means of its compelling song material as opening cut "Chorale" immediately sucks you into the eclectic musical universe that A Formal Horse inhabits.
Certain melodies and arrangements bring to mind pioneering acts such as King Crimson and Yes, but A Formal Horse definitely has a sound and an identity of its own. The way in which Hayley McDonnell’s haunting and soul-piercing vocals move on top of those (at times) non-linear, constantly mutating, and wonderfully unpredictable riffs is a thing of beauty. The superb drumming courtesy of Mike Stringfellow is passionate and full of energy while Russell Mann’s wicked bass lines complement both the guitars and drums perfectly while at the same time being adventurous and challenging. The twists and turns that constantly come into play are a joy to experience and the imaginative song structures will make you sit up and take notice.
In terms of atmosphere, A Formal Horse manages to evoke a wide variety of different moods and emotionally-tinged soundscapes ranging from the claustrophobic and dense and further on to the strangely uplifting and even carnivalesque. In many ways. A Formal Horse is as much an avantgarde rock band with hard rock leanings as a progressive rock one, but then again; who the fuck really cares? The fact of the matter is that this musically talented quartet from Southampton has released a great EP that comes across as focused, firm, and captivating, which is all you need to know, really. Head on over to Bandcamp and immerse yourself in "Made in Chelsea" ASAP.