Review of New Wild Horse Album – “When The Pool Is Occupied”
A dive into the new Wild Horse album – “When The Pool Is Occupied”
Wild Horse are a thriving young and original Indie band, hailing from Burwash, “The Middle of Nowhere”, East Sussex. The band comprises brothers Jack Baldwin, only 19 and with an enviably unique vocal sound and Henry Baldwin, 22 and already a talented multi-instrumentalist, playing bass, guitar, keyboard and harmonica. They are joined by childhood friend Ed Barnes, 21 and effortlessly cool on drums, while also providing vocals and on one memorable occasion at the Hope & Ruin: a sultry guitar solo.
These boys gel together flawlessly to create some seriously catchy indie rock, and they serve it up on stage with a confidence and ease well beyond their years. Don’t take that as a fluke, Wild Horse have been performing together for 6 years, and while they are clearly talented, what is even more impressive is how clearly dedicated they are to their craft and to honing their already impressive skill set. Jack, for example, taught himself piano over lockdown, and has already incorporated that into their latest recordings!
The new album, “When the Pool is Occupied”, their 5th to date, was written and recorded at home over lockdown. It is a wonderfully upbeat and soulful collection of 18 original songs reflecting on growing up in the modern world, relationships, addiction, mental health struggles and the long journey towards self-acceptance and self-love. Their sound seems to be influenced by an eclectic range of genres… from indie-pop to blue-eyed soul, R&B and funk to rock and roll.
The entire album was produced by the band itself & mixed by Brighton’s own Al Scott, a partnership that, according to the band, worked exceptionally well as it allowed everyone the creative freedom that had previously been suppressed. You can hear this freedom throughout the album, the band light-heartedly flit between styles with the care-free attitude of those confident in their taste – and it’s wonderful to experience. An album made purely for the joy of expression, a rare and wonderful find these days!
The new Wild Horse album “When the Pool is Occupied” begins with a simple question: “Why are there never happy love songs anymore?” delivered by Jack in his uniquely raw and powerful voice. This paired back opener sets the tone for the rest of the album perfectly – a confident abstract, irresistibly drawing you into their world.
And their answer? The uplifting summer single, “Freaky Together” bursts into your life with an infectious energy and plucky attitude. This is the one that has lodged itself permanently in my brain, and that’s no bad thing! This earworm has found a happy home, providing me with lively little moments to bop along to ever since I first listened to it. There’s something strangely nostalgic about the track too, something of the swinging instrumentals and bold lyrics transports me to a care free time in the not so distant past – to where the sun melted unashamedly dairy ice creams in the hands of people wholly oblivious to their hole-y ozone layer. In any case – it’s a catchy tune and I like what Wild Horse are giving with it.
The care-free vibes continue with “Pornstar Martini”, a poppy-disco funk-fest that will definitely get you off your feet and singing along with Jack’s quirky vocals. After a brief trip into a 70’s Motown bar with “W.A.N.T” we find ourselves in need of a “Coffee in the Morning” – A laid back, jazzy number with a really interesting lilting beat from Ed, this is a chilled-out moment in the album where you can simply enjoy what Wild Horse are serving.
The beat picks up again with “Anxiety”, a crunchy moment mid-album powered by some snappy drums and funky disco-infused instrumentation. Lyrically, Wild Horse carefully explores their day-to-day experience of anxiety – the true pandemic among people of my generation. Jack’s vocals are as raw and honest as the experiences he sings about:
“Cause I’m petrified with every move, I know everyone’s judging me, but really I’m fine I’m just going with the groove, but inside I’m feeling like a neck wrapped round a noose”
Emotions continue to run high in the next two offerings – “Footprints in the Sand” and single “Symphony of Broken Hearts”, but this time it’s about a break-up that was made in self-preservation… we’ve all been there! These lyrics are deeply thoughtful and self-reflective, and Jack is given room to let his voice fly with this musing ballad. It’s the equivalent of the early evening after a long hard day – a not-unwelcome moment to sit and gather your thoughts.
“I’ve been told I push everyone I love away, I guess people weren’t lying, when they said you’d walk away”
Wild Horse takes us by the hand and pulls us back into the care-free disco-loving era with “Pray ‘89”, allowing us to leave the self-reflection behind and embrace ourselves and our youth, in a celebration of freedom and self-love. Feel free to dance to this one – or better yet, I challenge you not to swing your hips to that sweet disco groove from bassist Henry.
Another stand out moment to me in the album is “Just About Enough”, a stripped back ballad questioning “What if I never break out of this fortress? What if I never break through the stone? I hope I’m not stuck in this place forever”. This is enveloped in a soulful (and impeccably timed) guitar solo from drummer Ed, which transported the song into another dimension of reflective space. This moment is a perfect time to simply listen and appreciate Wild Horse’s raw talent.
All in all “When the Pool is Occupied” is a multi-layered, thoughtful offering from Wild Horse. They have delivered us an ode to the journey to self-fulfilment with confidence, in a time when the question of self-acceptance and love is on all of our minds. It is a true testament to their dedication that they were able and willing to do this during lockdown, rather than languish on the sofa like the rest of us!