Gable, CuTe HoRSe CuT

Andrew Mueller

By Andrew Mueller

on 02.01.11 in Reviews

It's difficult to imagine quite what was discussed in the studio during the recording of this profoundly odd album. But it is certain that at no point was the following sentence uttered: "Whatever will people think?"

A delectable oddity

French art-poppers Gable are uncompromising even by the standards stereotypically ascribed to their people, and Cute Horse Cut is uncompromising even by the standards Gable have previously established (live, they have been known to employ such instrumentation as vacuum cleaners, choirs of elderly people and children, and the sound made by dismembering wooden boxes.)

Importantly, however, "uncompromising" is not, in the case of Cute Horse Cut or, to recognise its properly typographed name, CuTe HoRSe CuT, — a synonym for "unlistenable." At the heart of Gable's experimental urges is an acute pop instinct. This combination results in some treasurable flights of whimsy. "The StoNe aND The WoLF" recalls the surreal electro-operas of Kiwi eccentrics Tall Dwarfs. "Day," the only song whose title does not lurch between cases, is an amiable punky trundle in the style of Sonic Youth at their least obscurantist.

Several tracks are mere fragments, shorter than a minute. A couple of these do annoy, inasmuch as they feel like good ideas thrown willfully away — especially the sombre a cappella "HauNTeD," which might have made a fine gothic country ballad in the style of Handsome Family. Mostly, however, CuTe HoRSe CuT is a delectable oddity, just the right side of too weird for its own good.