The Pagan Place Podcast

‘Adam Mowery - Horseshoe Canyon’ Album Review

August 10, 2020

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Adam Mowery - Horseshoe Canyon

Release date, July 15th, 2020

Track Listing

  1. What’s the Difference?
  2. The Girl with No Tattoo
  3. Risk Factor
  4. Floyd on 45
  5. Pilcher’s Flowers
  6. Cast a Long shadow
  7. Carol Kane
  8. On the Take

Adam Mowery of seminal Saint John bands: Port City All-Stars, Wooden Wives and Papal Visit returns to deliver a record quite unlike anything we have heard from him before. Perhaps intentionally, Horseshoe Canyon crafts an experience akin to being holed up in your apartment during the apocalypse with a Tascam four-track. The record marks Mowery’s first new release in seven years and showcases his still-intact pop sensibilities, while exploring an almost outsider-esque musical landscape akin to Daniel Johnston.    

With two bookend tracks (“What’s the Difference” and “On the Take”), Mowery crafts lean folk songs with apocalyptic drone notes and haunting harmonies. From the get-go, you can hear every speck of dust crackling on tape… which only serves to enhance the experience of this record. “Girl with No Tattoo” is a standout; perhaps the most straightforward pop song on the record with Elliott Smith-style overlapping vocals. “Risk Factor” and “Floyd on 45” are love letters to the 60's, evoking The Kinks and (more overtly on the latter track) Pink Floyd. An album standout is “Pilcher’s Flowers”; a Mellotron-infused jam that conjures Beatle-esque psychedelic strangeness. 

Horseshoe canyon swaps the more instrumentally dense arrangements of say, Local Bands (Mowery’s 2013 release) for something that favours a minimalistic, DIY approach. That is not to say that it falls into the trap of sounding like cliched folk music… quite the opposite. In place of traditional guitars, bass and drums are soundscapes that take on the characteristics of their own instruments. This creates an atmosphere that sets Horseshoe Canyon apart from Mowery’s previously more polished pop recordings. 

 

Graeme Sauerteig

August 2020 

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