Cormac Neeson gets better at every new release. His voice is clearer and his own distinctive tone, still very influenced by Robert Plant, gives the whole album a unique vibe, especially on “Spectacular”. Switching from subtle and delicate (“Call Yourself A Friend”) to aggressive and intense (“Concrete”) the blond singer really uses his voice at its full potential and pours his animal charisma in every single track. Just listen to “Spectacular”, “Leave With Nothing” or “Scream A Louder Love” and you’re gonna get some well written choruses that will surely get stuck in your head for a while.
But the other musicians are not to be forgotten and the one who truly shines on “New Horizon” is definitely guitarist Paul Mahon. His work is great and the riffs feel both truly new and genuinely nostalgic. “Concrete” sounds a bit like Soundgarden but is also truly original, the bluesy vibe from “Baby Kill Me” and the coolness of “Spectacular” are great examples of what make him great. His elegant style, which is never pompous, keeps all the songs light and fun, without them being superficial. Strongly influenced by both LED ZEPPELIN and JANES ADDICTION, the guitarist offers some amazing moments of genius like the sweet and soft introduction to “Call Yourself A Friend”. Not a single note you could remove or add it’s one of the best songs of 2013.
We could stop here but THE ANSWER is not a duo, and it goes without saying that without their companions, le singer and the guitarist would not go very far.
Micky Waters know how to play bass. And if sometimes he’s just there as a rhythm guitarist (“New Horizon”) some songs truly allow him to shine. And just like the rest, it’s fantastic. The verses of “Concrete” where the guitar supports the bass line, which has a pure perfect line, are very different and much more heavy than the rest of the album and get us to see another aspect of the band. And he’s also very good at supporting the guitar and doubling the lines as shown on “Burn You Down”.
The drums are certainly the part you’ll notice the less on the record but guess what ? James Heatley is perfectly in place: the rhythmic foundation on which his bandmates can draw the compositions. The beat on “Somebody Else” for example.. Certainly the most used rhythm is the drumming world, but it fits so well that it transforms into a tool that the listener can use to memorize the track instantly. The moment he begins on “Concrete” with a very precise and metronomic technique is also a great moment of his performance.
That’s all pretty and all but without good songs the 4 musicians wouldn’t go very far… And while THE ANSWER often went into too many directions in the past, writing a ton of songs that never made it on record, “New Horizon” definitely feels more compact and focused, which gives a feeling of coherence and makes the whole thing even more solid. Even when “Concrete” follows “Somebody Else” and that you get to hear the ballad “Call Yourself A Friend”, which are three very different tracks, it fits well because it feels logic and coherent.
“New Horizon” can be listened to in one throw and is a record you’ll listen to many times. Each track has a distinctive personality that you’ll really enjoy after a while. Paul Mahon told us that the recording had been done in “live” conditions and that the songs where the main focus of the production. They truly succeeded in that way and you can really feel it at every moment because of the amazing balance between everything.
As a conclusion, THE ANSWER really outdid themselves on “New Horizon” and this record sounds like a new start for the Irish band. More mature, better thought, cohesive and straight in your face, you can use many words to describe this release, but it sure will be on your top list at the end of the year. Go get it as soon as possible!