It’s a suggestive name, Chrome Hoof; redolent of the polish of sleek modern urban living, of the leather running sooth in the passenger seat and, well, being trodden on by a beast of the field.
“You’re the luckiest boy in the world…”
Ah… Chrome Hoof, what fun we have whilst listening to you! Incredibly it’s been three years since the hysterical and über intelligent blasts of their last LP, Crush Depth engulfed and shocked us like a bucket of icy water after a sauna. Here, in the autumn of 2013, just at the point when their glam vision seems about to disappear over the horizon of our memory, they turn and ride back into sight, as sharp and as shiny and uncompromising as ever. Chrome Black Gold, which on the first few listens doesn’t seem to do much that differently than its predecessor, is a softer, maybe more contained vision against that of Crush Depth; which was often on the point of tearing itself up. That, of course is not really a problem with Chrome Hoof; for all their eclecticism and brazen nonsense there’s always a reassuring feeling that somewhere under the Rococo layers of instrumentation and the daft posturing there are great, danceable pop tracks to sink your teeth into.
And that’s what we get here; the opener Enter the Drobe comes on like some weird take on a Blackpool soul review circa 1970; and Knopheria is a late 70s disco pastiche par excellence; it could be a queasy, long forgotten collaboration between Michel Jarre (around the time of Zoolook) and Sarah Brightman. It works, even the “too late/checkmate” line. Trust me. Then we get When the Lightning Strikes, which gets all ‘Maiden on our collective arse; thundering through its allotted 5 minutes like The Trooper, or some other such adrenaline-rich nonsense. It also sounds like a modern popera; and its superficial dreadfulness is very much the appeal.
Elsewhere we get hints of the Teuton; Kestrel Dawn seems to be a short skit on D.A.F. whereas Varkada Blues reveals itself to be a sort of six minute mélange of Göttsching, Fröse and Nightrider, albeit with TV chef Keith Floyd at the mixing desk, and we have to say it’s none the worse for that. We also get some classic pop on here; Tortured Craft is just brilliant, the sort of music that in more enlightened times would be blasting out on a prime time evening pop revue, though fuck knows what it’s about. Ultimate Sealed Unit is the sort of spy / cop soundtrack Rainbow would write, whereas Exo Spektral is the most ridiculous keep fit work out ever made. I’m in need of a cuppa after all this excitement…
It’s a suggestive name, Chrome Hoof; redolent of the polish of sleek modern urban living, of the leather running sooth in the passenger seat and, well, being trodden on by a beast of the field. You get both, and in some ways you want both, that’s the grist in their creative mill.