Three years ago Audrey Horne released a self-titled album that balanced the timeless qualities of hard rock with refreshing diversity and a contemporary spirit. Critics across the globe were left drooling in appreciation of the remarkable ‘Audrey Horne’, the Norwegian group’s third full-length release. The reviews spoke volumes. The UK’s Classic Rock hailed the album as: “A rock ‘n’ roll gem of sparkling brilliance”. “They are simply too classy to be ignored”, agreed Germany’s Rock Hard magazine. Meanwhile, Kerrang stated simply that ‘Audrey Horne’ was: “Tuneful, uplifting and peppered with intelligence.”
‘Audrey Horne’ marked the glittering climax of a journey that had begun in 2002 (the band actually won a Norwegian Grammy four years later), its excellence and unmistakable maturity perhaps slightly unexpected to those aware of the band’s now distant roots in the extreme metal scene. Just listen to its Thin Lizzy-style melodic twin-lead guitars and intoxicating keyboard intricacies (the track ‘Show And Tell’, for instance) for proof of how times and tastes change.
Talking to the UK’s Metal Hammer, vocalist Toschie revealed the band’s innocent approach to the creative process: “We wanted to make a classic rock album.” This time around the goal was every bit as simple: “We wanted to make an even better classic rock album,” Toschie laughs.
Audrey Horne have achieved that objective. The first product for their new label, Napalm Records (the Austrian imprint whose roster includes Monster Magnet, The Sword, and), ‘Youngblood’ is the fully-formed classic hard rock gem that the band has threatened to make for years. It will certainly rank among the most forward-thinking rock statements of 2013.
The group’s sound has previously been pigeonholed as ‘modern rock’, ‘alt.metal’ or even ‘alternative rock’. Audrey Horne, who named themselves after the female star of David Lynch’s subversive TV series Twin Peaks in hope of side-stepping such laziness, still oppose the breaking down of music into cozy little compartments. Luckily for the Norwegians, ‘Youngblood’ makes it almost impossible to describe them as ‘alternative rock’. “One of our earlier records had a sticker that said: ‘For fans of Tool and Alice In Chains’ but that’s no longer relevant,” believes the singer. “Most of my favourite albums are now thirty years old.”
‘Youngblood’ is without doubt a classic-sounding record but, perversely, it’s also rooted in the here and now. Much of the credit for this unlikely statement lies with its producer. Whereas ‘Audrey Horne’ album was helmed by Joe Barresi, the vastly experienced American whose credits include such heavyweights as Queens Of The Stone Age, Tool, Coheed And Cambria, The Melvins and Clutch, for their new album Audrey Horne turned to a fellow Norwegian known professionally as Magnet – a singer/songwriter whose work is often likened to Gram Parsons, Tim Buckley and even Coldplay.
Classic Rock (UK) and Metal Hammer (UK)
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