Living Room Art

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Living Room Art Review

by Mark Deming

Minihorse take the sounds of a dream and wraps them up in a blanket of guitar chords that are by turns coolly beautiful and thick and fuzzy. The easy drift of the tempos on their first full-length album, 2019's Living Room Art, gives the music a feel that's languid and inviting, like the lure of a good nap on a trying day but without the drowsiness. The group's leader, Ben Collins, has fused these ten tunes with melodies and dynamics that suggest a history in indie rock, while also embracing a taste for both clean and monumentally dirty guitars that recalls vintage shoegaze, and a commitment to sonic manipulation that tips its hat to psychedelia. Living Room Art flows at its own deliberate pace, but the music doesn't sound lazy or plodding; Collins and his collaborators (bassist Christian Anderson and drummer John Fossum) are fully engaged with the material and give the songs a wealth of texture and color that belies their surface simplicity. This is music that's full of heart and feeling without wildly gesticulating, and the emotive howl of Collins' guitar on tunes like "Drink You Dry," "Older," and the title song is eloquent in its fuzzy impact. (The cleaner approach of "Misophonia" and "Jetstream" shows he can also get along just fine without a distortion pedal if need be.) The audio is clear enough to catch the grain of the performances without adding too much murk of its own, and the banks of aural atmosphere that bridge the selections help weave the parts into an effective whole. Living Room Art is a worthy full-length debut from a band with talent and great potential.

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