Horses/Stable Will

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With "Horses," Will Oldham first served notice that the gothic, old-timey approach of past Palace outings was as mercurial and mutable as the group's name -- a Mekons cover that manages to encompass so many Oldham obsessions (ponies and Satan chief among them) that it could easily pass for an original, the song's shuffling folk-rock melody treads familiar ground before climaxing in a blistering, feedback-drenched guitar solo that wouldn't sound at all out of place on one of Neil Young's records with Crazy Horse. Marking Oldham's first recorded excursion into explicitly country-rock territory, "Horses" effectively outlines the blueprint perfected on the third and finest Palace LP, Viva Last Blues, yet it's unique in his output for its anthemic grandeur -- it seems covering his beloved Mekons enabled Oldham to forge the kind of larger-than-life sound that the self-imposed austerity of his own music would never allow.