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Horsedrawn Wishes

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Album Review

Rollerskate Skinny's Horsedrawn Wishes is an amazing 60 minutes of music that sounds like a stunning, warped genre onto itself. All four band members are credited with orchestration, and it's a credit that seems completely appropriate. Swirling, wailing, and buzzing guitars intersect with each other in a melodic cacophony that's as successful and innovative as My Bloody Valentine's trailblazing album Loveless; it should be noted that Rollerskate Skinny previously had Jim Shields (the brother of My Bloody Valentine frontman Kevin Shields) as a member. Where the band's debut Shoulder Voices was brilliant without complete cohesion, Horsedrawn Wishes contains a similar, amplified brilliance in a pool of focused songcraft. Each song is a mini-symphony, built on stunning melodies, charming hooks, and powerful dynamics. Some listeners might find the songs too busy, but that's where the music's heart rests; guitars, keyboards, and seemingly any instrument at hand blend into one smorgasbord of joy. Likeminded bands such as Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips were never able to achieve the glory of a well-executed vision like that of Rollerskate Skinny here. It's quite hard to pick any songs as winners over others on the album. "Speed to My Side" sounds like the Beatles and My Bloody Valentine caught in a space-time continuum; Ken Griffin's touching vocals and a drum's thumping beat coalesce under crazed guitars in a soup of genius orchestration. The song is quite noisy, but equally gorgeous. "All Mornings Break" reveals the intelligent-spooky side of the band's sound. Hushed vocals and acoustic guitar suggest the La's in an echo chamber. "Shimmer Son Like a Star" seems lifted from a Mercury Rev and My Bloody Valentine collaboration that never happened. "Bell Jars Away" is as delicate as it is compelling, before falling apart in a grand way. Rollerskate Skinny creates elegant sounds, masters walls of guitars (and walls of other instruments as well), and arranges its songs so the hooks have maximum impact. Horsedrawn Wishes should be required listening for...everyone. It's one of the most original albums in rock and one of the best albums of the 1990s.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Named in honor of a turn-of-phrase in the J.D. Salinger classic Catcher in the Rye, the noise-pop band Rollerskate Skinny was formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1992 by vocalist/guitarist Ken Griffin, guitarist Ger Griffin (no relation) and bassist Stephen Murray. After debuting with the 1992 EP Novice, the group released the ten-inch Trophy before swelling to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Jimi Shields, the younger brother of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields. After signing to Beggars Banquet,...
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Horsedrawn Wishes, Rollerskate Skinny
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