16 Horsepower – Folklore

folklore1As spare an album as they’ve made, 16HP’s latest is as grim and dark as any of their previous efforts. It is also their most streamlined: mostly acoustic and without the strong rock connection that underlines their earlier work, particularly Low Estate. Perhaps this is a roots album, the recording where the band’s influences (never far from the surface) are finally laid bare – only four of these songs are Horsepower originals. Clocking in at a tight thirty-seven minutes, Folklore doesn’t feel rushed or undernourished – it’s complete. And indeed, it’s a much more relaxed and assured statement than a wholly idiosyncratic piece like Secret South. But it lacks that album’s deep individuality and tension, and without the peculiar muscle of Secret South, Folklore just feels slighter.

Rating: B+

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com