When Sweden’s Troubled Horse released the “Bring My Horses Home” single back in 2010, this reviewer was not expecting to wait almost 2 years for a full length album. Then again, it did take 7 years to release the aforementioned seven inch. “Step Inside” is proof that good things come to those who wait. Featuring three members (former and current) from retro doom pioneers Witchcraft alongside vocalist Martin Heppich, their sound should be no surprise.
Step Inside is a trip, no, a canter, back to the days when albums were engraved on black wax and featured only 8-10 songs. This is retro rock with modern production.
Opening track, “Tainted Water”, sets the wheels in motion with a garage-esque Blue Oyster Cult groove before melding into a stomping, choppy declaration of intent. “Bring My Horses Home” is the most Witchcraft-like track. Laced with delicious melody, the infectious hook laden chorus is very reminiscent of Roky Erickson. Songs like “Sleep In Your Head” and “Fears” are far more restrained as they trundle and sway with a deceptive heaviness. The joyously upbeat “Another Man’s Name”, showcases John Hoyles’ fabulous fretwork. Album continuity is maintained with some serious rocking on “One Step Closer To My Grave”, “As You Sow”, and the sumptuous “Shirleen”. Troubled Horse throw a curveball with the country inspired, “Don’t Lie”. A song that initially seems out of place, but when listened as part of the complete album, it fits like one of the ten fingers in a pair of gloves. “I’ve Been Losing” brings the proceedings to a close with its 60’s organ-driven, Animals inspired feel.
From start to finish, Heppich’s velvety voice embraces every note and beat served up by his accomplished compatriots. With its numerous twists and turns, Step Inside is one of the most exciting releases of the last year.
This Troubled Horse has bolted from the stable and shows no signs of being tamed.
01. Tainted Water
02. Bring My Horses Home
03. Sleep in Your Head
04. Another Man’s Name
05. All Your Fears
06. One Step Closer to My Grave
08. As You Sow
09. Don’t Lie
10. I’ve Been Losing
Martin Heppich – vocals, guitar
John Hoyles – guitar
Ola Henriksson – bass
Jens Henriksson – drums