Influenced by folk’s more whacked-out, gloomy, voodoo-visioned forebears, 16 Horsepower continue to narrate their haunting campfire-punk yarns without a modern-day care in the world.
Instead, David Eugene and his melancholia-drenched posse of LA dreamers prefer the dark grandeur that only comes with mournful swathes of countryfied guitar, of heavy-hearted violins, pianos and accordions, of lonesome banjo-picking and [a]Ennio Morricone[/a] tautness. Add a dash of Dylan-esque roots-philosophy and the result is a forlorn dustbowl saloon bar where [a]Nick Cave[/a] woefully sinks bourbons with The Gun Club only moments after a loved one’s funeral parade.
There’s scant evidence of the year 2000 within the desolate pleas of ‘Burning Bush’, the ghostly magnificence of ‘Praying Arm Lane’ or the superlative rendition of trad classic ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, but 16 Horsepower aren’t ones to fret about such misleading concerns. For them, the objective was to make a fucking brilliant album where the mood is king, the delivery is queen and studied modern coolness is a jester that’s one misplaced quip away from being the lion’s breakfast. And, of course, they’ve succeeded. Sometimes, you just have to accept that there’s, ahem, nowt as pure as folk.