A Bury-forged trio peddling blues-y, grungey alt-rock, with a back story that bears a similarity to certain college rock greats
Names: Ellie Langley (guitar & vocals), Seymour Quigley (guitar & vocals), Shannon Hope (drums)
Location: Bury, England
Style: Crunchy blues-grunge, reminiscent of PJ Harvey at her seediest
Look out for: Debut album Cover Your Eyes is out now, with the band currently working on their second LP
nauspicious beginnings sometimes lead to an auspicious existence. Just ask R.E.M, who played their first gig in a church, with a singer who couldn’t sing and a guitarist who could barely play.
Bury blues-grunge act Horse Party are not R.E.M. They can already sing and play with aplomb, but like Stipe’s boys a church played an important part in their formative composition, as guitarist and vocalist Ellie Langley explains. “When I moved to Bury, Quigley was putting on a gig in a church. At the gig he said that we were going to start a band together.”
Drummer Shannon Hope adds that Quigley, who she’d played in a band with 12 years previously, then sought to bring her into the fold. “Quigley was then texting me [that night] and telling me that we were going to be in a band with Ellie.” With that she moved back to Bury and the band have been together ever since.
Horse Party are quick to reference the contrasting influences of 80s post-hardcore and folk delicacy, with Shannon advising: “I really like the energy of punk, which is where the Fugazi influence comes in. But I also really like delicate stuff like Elliott Smith.” However they consider their inspirations to be just that – a means of giving impetus to their own creative urges, rather than a blueprint to follow.
“I never sit down and say I want to write like a particular artist”
“With influences it’s so easy to rattle off a list,” says Shannon. “I listen to loads of different music and I never sit down and say that I want to write like a particular artist. Listening to great records and then trying to subconsciously forget about them when coming to the writing process, is how I think influences work for me.”
This desire to let the subconscious guide their songwriting, is evident in their recording process. Their wonderfully spiky debut LP Cover Your Eyes was a collection of songs the band were proud of, rather than a pointed effort to create their first record. What’s important for the band is that everything is done at the right time and they don’t drag out the writing process, as Ellie says “we feel it’s important not to hold onto a song for too long and to record it when the energy is right”.
With this ethos allied to their ferocious appetite for making music, it’s no surprise that a second album is already underway. Though very much in the early stages, Horse Party advise that their new songs have a ‘looser’ feel and that they are excited about them. A release date is some way off yet, with the band having no idea when the songs will see the light of day. There will though be no Guns N’ Roses-esque recording gap: Shannon promises ‘We’re not a band that will take four years to get a record out’.
Cover Your Eyes is out now. You can watch the video for the song Clarion Call below, and keep up to speed with the band’s progress and forthcoming live dates here.