If someone told you that Brooklyn is home to one of the best folk-rock bands out there, would you believe them? –you better. Mail the Horse is a band of five guys, who really know how to jam. Simply put, these musicians have a style that taps right into your soul and does something special. With several years and a couple of albums under their belt, Mail the Horse has had time to develop their style and become great at what they do. Their latest album, Planet Gates, is a reflection of that musical mastery. Each song is packed full of style and will turn you into a fan of Mail the Horse.
Planet Gates is like taking some old school country and injecting it with some very Strokes-like and even Creedence Clearwater Revival sounds. More specifically, the singer, at times, has a striking vocal resemblance to Julian Casablancas and some of those guitar lines are pretty neat. More so Planet Gates just offered a nice balance of acoustic guitars, bluegrassy vocals, adrenaline filled rock tunes, and more. The album is a really satisfying blend of rock and something a little more rustic.
When the album first starts with “Best I Can,” you’re greeted with a thumping bass melody and some modest enough acoustic guitar. There’s a serious 60s/70s vibe coming from the band and it’s all really pleasantly atmospheric. The second track, “Holy Motel Magic,” is a bit more excited, but still has that early rock era sound. The distorted guitar carries out a really groovy melody and the vocalist helps push the song along with another layer of texture. It’s all something fantastic and these two tracks really do a lot to prove just how great Mail the Horse can be.
From this point in the album on it becomes a little easier to zone out and lose track of time. For the most part, Mail the Horse’s album goes by like background noise –the album doesn’t feature anything too attention grabbing nor horribly memorable. Even the occasional pick up of energy or a solo doesn’t do much to disturb the course of the album. The soundtrack-like nature of the album doesn’t debase the entire experience very much either. If we chalk it all up to modesty, then Mail the Horse’s Planet Gates is one of the better country/rock/grungy albums out there. Otherwise, some sort of standout hit would have been nice. Maybe some listeners will find a song that really hits the ball out of the park –for me it just wasn’t happening and I don’t mind.
Mail the Horse’s Planet Gates isn’t too showy. Truth be told, this may be a godsend when it comes to making the album a little more accessible. Mail the Horse didn’t do anything super crazy, they didn’t try to outdo themselves (or at least I don’t think), the music seems really organic and isn’t too niche. As a result of this particular style or approach, Planet Gates is just a really enjoyable album.
If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not you should check out Mail the Horse’s album, consider listening to a track like “Shallow Water.” It’s a fairly catchy song and one of those things that anyone can get into. The tune features some fun vocal lines, a powerful set of keys, and a simple yet good enough guitar. Really, it’s a perfect example of what Planet Gates has to offer –just plain good music. If you’re into 60s/70s rock, if you don’t mind a little country influence, if you don’t mind a little style in your music, then there’s no reason to avoid Mail the Horse’s Planet Gates.