Horace x - Burst Peacock
Frantic, thunderous, entertaining stuff from Cambridge's technicolour hoardes. Beat-box roots, with several kitchen sink loads of varied ethno and not so ethno input, plus numerous guests spanning from accordeonist Martin Green (Eliza Carthy Band) to ragga-vocals from Quincy Bones and Simbleton.
Energetic, Inventive and Exciting. Take some tight techno-style rhythms and programming and season liberally with bass, woozy-sounding Eastern and/or Celtic Fiddle Upbeat, clarinet sax and trombone. Upbeat and Intense; like a meeting between Clannad and Orbital while riding on the Transglobal Underground.
Dan King (Cambridge Evening News)
Horace X provide one of the best live shows in the country, no doubt at all.
On listening to a Horace X CD at home, I feel two conspicuous absences - the ultra-violet visual spectacle, and the dance floor.
How can one put these absences to positive effect? Well, one can concentrate on appreciating the intricacy of the utterly unique musical fusion. To simplify, there's jazz-funk from the saxes and trombone, house-rave-techno-whatever-it's-called-nowadays from drummer, programmer and composer Mark Russell, and, most interesting in isolation to us folkies, Hazel Fairbairn's fiddle, which flutters from cajun to Celtic to Balkan to Asian. Hazel's imaginative accumulation of influences merits national recognition in itself. And there's plenty other exotic feathers to the peacock, doubtless including some which I haven't spotted. But the music fuses so perfectly that a dissection of influences misses the point.
The overall sound lives up to the band's claim to be 'on the exuberant and cutting edge of the indescribable' (which doesn't make the reviewer's job easy!). For all its radical complexity, this is just not music for solitary contemplation. It's 'good time' music, in the very positive, enlightened way that reggae can be, lively but peaceful. It's very sexy, even without the stage dancers, but in a life-affirming, non-competitive fashion that's the very opposite of the Loaded lad meets raunchy bird on the make scenario. It's peace and love, indeed, and it's sharp and it's funky. And if you stick it in a CD Rom drive it turns into a video for one track, featuring band members cavorting around Cambridge. It's festival music; it's summer party music. Get it for your own party or festival. Play it at home and before long there'll be a festival in your living room, even if you're the only punter.
Rychard Carrington (Rock and Reel)
Every once in a while a band comes along with a sound so completely indescribable it makes the life of the journalist that bit more difficult...... Burst Peacock is packed with frantic tight programming with various concoctions of fiddle, clarinet, sax, harmonica and trombone thrown into the mix. Turkno Yo Yo mashes the sound up with some sublime ragga-style vocals courtesy of Quincy Bones and Simbleton. A slice of dub is always a welcome addition to the pot and My Name is Music combines dub bass rhythms and horns with a distinctly eerie Eastern fiddle.
Brian Price (Wavelength Journal)
Its always hard for a band with a strong live presence - particularly one with such a distinct visual style -to translate to the studio. The answer? Stick a video on the CD. Alongside Horace X's 11 excellently produced tracks of instrumental sampled/Eastern/Celtic wierdness -illuminated by such guests as Martin Green and Cathy Coombs (Thoughtgang) and the R'n'B harmonica of Steve Lockwood -there's a quicktime video of Mr Simms doesn't like us, which not only shows that big budgets are bollocks, but also puts the whole thing nicely in context, intercutting shots of the band playing their flourescent U.V. socks off with heartwarming views of Cambridge. Cheeky, Accomplished, danceable and fun. And a million miles from Blue. Which has got to be a good thing.
Toby Venables (Ad Hoc Magazine)