Comradely Objects

Horse Lords

Comradely Objects

Listening to the Baltimore instrumental band Horse Lords’ mix of minimal art-rock and pan-African music is like looking at one of those optical illusions where you can’t tell if an image is static or moving, and if so, how fast. It can sound jarring and dissonant and almost purposefully ugly (“May Brigade”) but so trancelike in its repetitions that even its dissonances become beautiful (“Law of Movement”). And like Talking Heads or ’90s math-rock bands like Don Caballero, their kinship with punk isn’t just their intensity but their rebellion against the fantasy of rock music being something loose and free. They occasionally flirt with machines (the outro of “Mess Mend”), but their discipline is 100 percent human.

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