Horsebeach – II (Album Review)

Probably one of the most anticipated albums from a Manchester band in recent years, Horsebeach follow-up last years debut with ‘II’. Ryan Kennedys dream pop outing has been one of the most exciting sounds around of late, recycling 80’s vibes with timeless song writing.

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I was at most of the early Horsebeach shows; I booked some after meeting drummer Matt in a Manchester nightclub before anything really got off the ground. Even in those early demos he sent me, at those early shows there was something special about the sound Ryan was generating. Their debut ‘Horsebeach’ proved that beyond any doubt, the dreamy guitars and solid rhythms were an irresistible sound. ‘II’ is a more developed outing and prove Horsebeach is well on the way to where a band like this can be.

With an ambient intro that picks up into thick bassy guitars mellowed by a beautifully light riff it, ‘Intro’ track sets the perfect mood for the albums and lead track ‘It’s Alright’. The songs heavenly boy/girl vocals are to the tune of a song that is no doubt Kennedys best work melodically. ‘Andy’ is a powerful pop track draped in beautiful sounds from top to bottom, while earlier single ‘Disappear’ is work of magic weaving in and out with terrific guitar and vocals intertwining, for fantastic dream pop.

It’s fair to say there’s not a weak song on this album, but for me personally there’s a few that stray from the flow. Dana is a devastatingly beautiful song, but could stem a whole album of it’s own with much more keys and softer vocals that the rest of ‘II’. ‘Avoid The Light’ would easily have found it’s way onto the first album but to be honest it’s difficult to find too much fault this album.

Horsebeach has evolved in the past year since the self-titled debut that made people really sit up and listen; the sound is stronger and braver. It’s a gorgeous album that could go deeper in parts, but it’s full to the brim with great songs to while away hours dreaming and it’s easy to forget that it’s still early days, if we get a third album I can only see Horsebeach getting stronger.