As its title suggests, on Horizon Trash Kit break down any preconceptions about the scope of their music. This is drummer/vocalist Rachel Horwood and guitarist/vocalist Rachel Aggs' first album with bassist Gill Partington, whose swooping and stabbing work punctuates songs like "Get Out of Bed" perfectly. It's also their first album after touring with the Ex and Thurston Moore, a crucial experience that taught them how to expand their music. Where 2014's Confidence consisted of 17 rapid-fire outbursts, Horizon's ten rangy explorations find Trash Kit challenging themselves as well as others' perceptions of them. On "Every Second" -- the first song they wrote after their time on the road with those experimental music legends -- their skill at stretching out is apparent in the interplay of bustling, angular riffs and rhythms, insistent saxophone, and chanted call-and-response vocals. Similarly, the extra space on the title track and the simmering seven-minute workout "Disco" gives Aggs, Horwood, and Partington more room to bounce off of each other and let their momentum reach its full potential. Even on shorter tracks like "See Through," Trash Kit's more refined use of tension and release lets their declarations of independence hit all the harder. Fortunately, Horizon's added sophistication doesn't weigh down its songs. The cautionary tale of the opening track, "Coasting" (When all this ends/Without warning/Where will we be?"), may be inspired by Octavia Butler's apocalyptic novel Parable of the Sower, but Horwood's dazzling polyrhythms and Rachel Aggs' lilting guitar playing -- which was informed by Zimbabwean guitarists -- instantly let listeners know that this is a Trash Kit album. Likewise, when Horwood and Aggs trade vocals over irresistibly buoyant guitars and piano on "Dislocate," it sounds like they're helping each other leapfrog over life's struggles. This feeling of belonging -- along with Trash Kit's devotion to punk and African musical traditions and their passion to reinvent them for the future -- makes for some of Horizon's best songs. The joy that radiates from the massed harmonies that close "Sunset" is echoed on "Traffic Lights," where Aggs and Horwood literally sing the praises of their musical communion ("Your music/Inside my body/In my heart/And my head") to striking effect. The radical changes Trash Kit made to their music only heighten their time-tested strengths, and Horizon is some of their most satisfying music as well as their most forward-looking.
by Heather Phares