Local music review: Drunk on Horseback

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When people talk about alt-rock, they talk about Drunk on Horseback. The Boggs brothers and Faith Silver bring the ruckus in a way that "indie rock" doesn't quite fit, though sometimes "rock 'n' roll" would do.

"Alt-rock" hits the spot, though, because the term is a relic of the '90s, and like many bands of today, Drunk on Horseback sounds like they're mining that decade for inspiration. Unlike some of the critical darlings of recent vintage, they aren't channeling ghostly R&B or nibbling on the noise-pop table scraps of Pavement and GBV. Rather, Drunk on Horseback's music reminds me of the radio rock of the Clinton era.

A spin through last year's album "People" is like a tour of the post-Cobain rock landscape. Joshua Boggs filters his gloom, anger and excitement into rousing rockers with chord changes that keep me on my toes. He can slide to the poppy side of the spectrum too - it's easy to imagine the harmonica-led "Drag" slotted between Matthew Sweet and Gin Blossoms on the alt stations of the day or as the theme song for some "Friends" ripoff sitcom.

Many respectable musicians bristle at being compared to Stone Temple Pilots, but I mean it as a compliment when I say Boggs' vocal melodies resemble Scott Weiland circa "Purple," pre-rasp. Boggs' brusque delivery has traces of Spoon's Britt Daniel in the mix too. The connection especially clicks in those moments when Drunk on Horseback's discontented jangle recalls Spoon's gruff but artful "A Series of Sneaks" era.

Sometimes they also rock out so intensely as to inspire cries of "That's some Motorhead s---, man!" from their audience. This transpired Monday at The Treehouse, where Drunk on Horseback performed a smartly succinct, occasionally rollicking set that kept drummer Justin Boggs' huge mop of hair flopping wildly.

If this is beginning to sound like a band with an identity crisis, well, they're definitely all over the map stylistically. They cover a lot of ground geographically too, keeping a diligent tour schedule that should help them hone a bit more stage presence and a more focused stylistic voice.

What I want to know is, when's their "MTV Unplugged" special gonna air?

Drunk on Horseback