A one trick pony is great if you only see the trick once. If you watch it over and over again, well, boredom ensues. An Horse knows one trick; a good trick to be sure, but only one. The trick goes like this: Kate Cooper -- one-half An Horse -- in staccato delivery, sings simple melodies slightly off-key mostly over distorted, driving guitars. If the song starts without distortion the instrumentation builds (like on “Little Lungs”).
After ten tracks of repetition, it’s hard to appreciate that one trick. This is not to say An Horse isn’t worth listening to. Specifically, “Little Lungs” and “Scared as Fuck” are forceful in their conviction. As “Little Lungs” builds and repeats phrases, it’s hard not to bob your head in time. “Scared as Fuck” has a galloping drum line, and lines like “You can take my socks / But you damn well better leave my gloves” are irresistible.
“Postcards” is probably the best track on the album. Intermittent guitar punctuation kicks off the track, Cooper’s vocals in relief. The best I can tell, the song laments not being happy where you are at. I can’t be sure.
There are a lot of relationship songs on the album. Kate Cooper must stay busy in the love department. The lyrics are vague regularly, and that can be a problem. Feelings need development and structure.
If an album is just someone talking about their feelings, it can make the listener feel like an emotional dumping ground (see: emo). Cooper is witty enough to generally manage avoiding such pitfalls, but not completely. Lines like “It’s times like this I think too much,” from the song “Company,” say nothing. The line should have been cut long ago.
In listening to Rearrange Beds, the thought occurs to me that the album lacks development. If An Horse would learn a trick or two more, I’d be talking about a completely different album; I’d be talking about an album I absolutely loved. As it stands currently, I can’t muster more than a lukewarm thumbs up.
If you are like me and are conserving change for only the best of the best on the shelves these days, Rearrange Beds isn’t going to be the one you are reaching for. When An Horse goes back into the studio, I’m hoping there’s more diversity and a stringent policy on cutting inane lyrics. There’s talent here, it’s undeniable; not everything really comes together, though.