Pulled Apart By Horses – Tough Love

Pulled Apart By Horses are a peculiar band. The Leeds quartet have managed to make savage, guitar-filled music with searing vocals and heavy riffs while somehow maintaining a somewhat mainstream appeal, with constant backing from the BBC and plays on daytime radio aplenty. Maybe that’s due to them making music that might seem heavy and overwhelming at first glance, but is also riddled with underlying hooks and melodies that make it all feel oddly inviting.

Their 2010 eponymous debut was welcomed by critics with open arms, hailed as a fun, bombastic album that exploded the band into the public’s consciousness, and they quickly became known as one of the most energetic and engaging live bands currently touring. With this reputation in tow, they’re back with their second album, Tough Love.

Tough Love is an unrelenting, adrenaline filled record that takes everything they’ve learned over the years, both through recording and constantly being on the road, and makes it louder, tighter and altogether more well conceived. Where their debut album showed valiantly what Pulled Apart By Horses were all about, their second effort feels like a wholly more well-realised album.

Frontman Tom Hudson sure has a set of lungs on him. His roaring vocals assault your ears and give Pulled Apart By Horses their signature sound. They might not suit everyone’s tastes, but they fit the atmosphere of the music perfectly. Hudson‘s vocals are accompanied by some of the most intricate compositions of music in modern rock. The riffs come fast and heavy, with impeccable drumming giving the music a great rhythm and pace. Considering the type of music they play, it’s surprising how easily some of the songs can slip into your subconscious, thanks to the hooks displayed throughout.

While most albums allow the listener a degree of downtime throughout the proceedings, Tough Love pulls no punches. From start-to-finish, the album never slows down or gives up in its half-hour runtime. It is a constant assault on the ears and will get anyone feeling energised. The majority of tracks fall underneath a three-minute play time, and so nothing ever outstays its welcome.
Opening track and lead single ‘V.E.N.O.M.‘ does a stellar job of giving a clear indication of what listeners are getting themselves into when giving this album a spin. Pounding rhythms, semi-incomprehensible lyrics and intricate guitar work are all present; all the while being turned up to eleven. ‘Epic Myth’ shows some evolution in Hudson‘s vocals, with a cleaner, more melodious sound. ‘Bromance Ain’t Dead‘ showcases their devil may care attitude to a tee,  while ‘Everything Dipped in Gold’ sends the record off in style.

Lyrically, there is not much remarkable about the album. The band seem to have moved on from their trend of overly long, kooky titles such as ‘I’ve Got a Guest List To Rory O’Hara’s Suicide‘, but they maintain the same approach to lyrics as a whole, with lines such as ‘When I was a kid I was a dick / But nothing changes‘ (from ‘Wolf Hand’). Sure, it’s not exactly high prose but it still rings true and sure feels good to shout at the top of your lungs.

Tough Love is a fleeting, testosterone fuelled tornado of an album, leaving destruction among all those who hear it. Pulled Apart By Horses seem to be the newfound pros of what they do; creating brutal riffs and very heavy melodies but somehow making them endlessly listenable and FUN, and this album exemplifies that brilliantly.

8/10
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