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Flying Horseman

afbeelding Flying Horseman
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Flying Horseman takes its musical inspiration from Joy Division, Blind Lemon Jefferson, John Fahey, The Velvet Underground, and Nick Cave, among others, all of whom can be heard at times in the haunted vocal songs crafted by singer-songwriter Bert Dockx on Wild Eyes (one could easily add The Doors and Richard Hawley to the list), the debut album from a band that's been together for just over two years. The album's material was recorded live to tape over four days, and it shows in the spontaneity of the group's playing throughout the disc's fifty-four-minute run. It's one of those sets where the band, ever responsive to the singer's lead, calibrates the intensity of its attack to the rising fury in the singer's impassioned delivery. That's especially apparent during “Beats” (I will meet you there / on the beat one two three) when the band's playing grows into a stampede in tandem with Dockx's vocal, and “Landmark/Lament” and “There Lives A House” which align his desperate singing to powerhouse guitar riffery and Hendrixian wail. Whether oozing despair during a black-hearted ballad like “Heap” (“And my universe dies”) or frothing rabidly at the mouth during “Landmark/Lament” (“Follow me to a place where hate is a virtue”), Dockx is ably supported by band-mates guitarist Milan Warmoeskerken, bassist Laurens Duerinck, and drummer Alfredo Bravo, and backing vocalists Loesje and Martha Maieu soften the slashing intensity of the raw, guitar-driven attack with their humanizing presence. The opening lyrics in “Meditation Blues” capture the music's brooding tone as well as any of the album's ten songs: “Running through the city / Meditating on my sins / Strolling through the graveyard / Slipping off an old skin.” Not surprisingly, the kind of house living within Dockx isn't a well-appointed penthouse but one featuring a ghost in every room and a spider in the bathtub (“There Lives A House”) and where one uses a butcher knife and wooden spoon “to cut [one's] way to freedom.” Think of Wild Eyes as late-night listening for bruised souls everywhere. December 2010

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