Horseflies may indeed conjure up a weird feeling of darkness and the grim, murky depths of some disused stable, the humming of insects among other smells. In reality, the horsefly prefers the sunlight, avoids shade and is inactive at night. Horseflies from Portsmouth on the other hand, are a different prospect. Made up from current and ex-members Deluxe Flamingos and Attack! Vipers! this four-piece have been kicking around since 2016, quietly releasing numerous EPs (all available on their bandcamp) and making a noisy, discordant racket.
There’s nothing like a good seethe and Phantom is certainly a teeth-gritting hiss of boiling agitation. The echoing, rapid-fire vocal yelps are spat with snarling urgency whilst the scrawling and mangled punk rock that muscles along for the ride, keeps everything in the confines of this bending and buckling ramshackle of a track.
The dark-post punk of Fist, is in stark contrast to the opening scowl of Phantom. Cleaner vocals for one thing, coupled with the shimmering 80s-sounding backdrop of the crisp guitars and stocky dance-punk bass line. “Don’t let the fire die” is the battle roar on the scorching Embers, which is fucking great from start to finish. It bursts into the room via this robot-rock bassline and drumbeat and grows and grows in desperate, clawing passion to this snapping, Fucked Up-esque call to arms of sweating, joyous exuberance.
“My head is caving in, nerve endings severing…. goodbye feelings” intones Horseflies vocalist on the aggressive drawl of final track, Denial, which morphs from morose alt-rock into a buzzing and rending slice of bile, guitars hissing over the raging and venting vocals.
There’s some excellent moments on this EP; Horseflies show some brilliant creativity with their song writing and craft, from moments of acidic rage to somber contemplation and fiery passion – fans of The Jesus Lizard, Fucked Up, Hawk Eyes and Bronto Skylift get on this immediately.