Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Horde - Press Buttons Firmly

This late 60's garage rock gem came to me via my friend Jared whose uncle was a member of this Durham, NC area quintet.  Seeing a 2013 Break-A-Way Records reissue, this album encapsulates the Nuggets/Pebbles era garage rock to a tee.  Drawing from the fervor of bands like Count Five and a dash of the more psychedelic bands like Kaleidoscope,  The Horde's sound coalesces in to some serious garage rock bangers.   Consisting of both covers and originals alike, the album contains all 14 songs recorded at different points in 1967.  The cover of Them's "Gloria" that was a set staple among the garage rock bands of that era, might be one of the best (and most intense) renditions I've ever heard.  The album is worth a listen for that cover alone.

According to the liner notes, the first 10 song recording session was brought to fruition by a Duke student, Elizabeth Locke, who wanted to record some of her own songs with the band.  The deal was that she would pay for the session and after her songs were tracked then the band would have free reign in the studio. Thus, the first track "Troubles" features Elizabeth on lead vocals.  The band really pulls back the reigns on "Tell Me"(Stones cover) showcasing the purer side of the band's vocal abilities and trading the fast drumming coupled with distorted guitars for a clean (almost acoustic) tone. The last four songs on the album were recorded late in '67 and shows the band's growth in to a slightly more psychedelic realm.  This occurs most notably on "VD's Thing", a darker instrumental jam with every instrument trading rippin' solos.  However, the first track from this session "No Need To Wonder Why" is much more along the lines of psych-folk a la Donovan, opting for a slower tempo and beautiful vocal harmonies which combine to help create a wonderfully executed composition.

Truly a lost gem of the Nuggets era garage scene, this album is on par with the best of what's been reissued in the subsequent decades since the 60's demise.  Press buttons firmly.