If there’s one thing I admire about The Getaway Plan, it’s their resilience that has brought them a successful and flourishing music career. Since the crowdfunding of Dark Horses started, it’s pretty amazing to have seen so much support that was brought by their loyal fanbase. The band made a brave decision on leaving their record label because they felt like they weren’t able to showcase material that was truly theirs. Comparing to their last two albums, 2008’s Other Voices, Other Roomsand 2011’s Requiem, Dark Horses is their most honest and profound record to date. The most remarkable aspect of this album is how it makes you feel something. A feeling that you can’t necessarily put into words. It’s a journey of using music as a solace for pain, depression and misery, showcasing The Getaway Plan’s token of survival from their hiatus.
In an interview with frontman Matthew Wright last year, it was understandable why record labels didn’t make the band happy at all – let alone help them be their complete creative selves. With Dark Horses, it’s a rite of passage that provides a concrete purpose for the band, having the freedom of knowing that they were able to do something that would make an incredible impact on both themselves and other people. Dark Horses is dark, and I mean that in a good way. The passionate playing of the instruments, the intricacies in the lyrics and the maturity progression the band has achieved is impressive. It’s the kind of record that you’ll spin when you can’t sleep at 2am and here, we see an impressive flow of words and music that express darkness in a way that is strikingly beautiful. It feels like a diary being written page by page and the only story we can read is the one that Dark Horses expresses to us.
For Wright, life hasn’t been easy for him. He has battled with depression and the negative impact it brought to his life. As a songwriter, he has taken all this experience and has made Dark Horses an expression of reality; a sense that he’s able to release all feelings that have brought him down like an anchor hitting rock bottom. Living with something that not many understand is something frustrating and Wright expresses this through his songwriting.
“Landscapes” opens the record to a pulsating, aggressive start with its manoeuvre of drums and perfected guitar work which is very reminiscent of their old-school days. The refreshing sense of screamo vocals that takes them back to their roots of hard-hitting rock music is empowering and influential. The gripping and numbing pain that is reflected in “Last Words” has a bitter tone accompanied by a catchy beat. As a producer, Samuel K has helped nurture the talents of this band by making tracks suited to fill the echoing parts of a room. The intensity of the record shines through so effortlessly and it keeps you intrigued, no matter how emotionally-taxing each track can be.
The instrumentation has been clearly re-defined by the band. It’s a cohesive formation to what they want to truly express in their art. Through here comes “Dark Horses” and its melancholic tone of desperation that is reflective of the soft-rock progression that is built-up with loud and expressive rhythm. The band have done this effectively, bringing a defined sound that resonates an element of surprise to the album. Dark Horses is intricate and unpredictable; it’s a like a maze that you don’t want to get out of because you’re too busy appreciating the green grass that surrounds you. Suffice it to say, the record’s genuine honesty and raw emotion delicately unfolds into a heart-wrenching experience.
With Radiohead coming off as a strong contender of influence, “Dreamer Parallels” gives an emotional take by using contemporary elements while adding an impressive effect to its longevity. The hypnotic way the instrumentation is transformed by the guitars, piano and subtle beats of the drums develop an intriguing sound. Here, we see Wright’s vocals take on a sombre tone with the inclusion of spoken words that bring an emotive edge.. Looking at closing track, “Exodus”, it is very symphonic in its approach with its large rock sound. It magnifies the band’s sound by tenfold with its electrifying effect in the guitars and ongoing dark manifestation of their emotions from their playing. At this point, their music showcases a boundless freedom of restrictions and boundaries which translates to The Getaway Plan’s creative peak.
To best put it, Dark Horses is an album that is charming to the ears and one that stabs you in the heart. The emotional journey that has been invested in this record is reflective of the musical progression The Getaway Plan have unlocked for themselves. The longevity of instrumentation, the empowering lyrics and the intensity adds value to the record and this in return has brought a long-lasting foundation of success that is strongly attainable for the alternative rock quartet. Dark Horseswelcomes a reformed band that isn’t afraid to open up old wounds and scars with a passionate sense of storytelling that makes their music count for something.
Review Score: 9.0 out of 10
Dark Horses is available for purchase on July 3rd