Many bands have made an impression on both, audience and critics over the last ten years, but only very few have been able to maintain their unique vision of music and the freshness of their early days. 16 Horsepower sure is one of these rare acts.
In 1992 the band 16 Horsepower was formed in Los Angeles, CA by David Eugene Edwards, Pascal Humbert and Jean-Yves Tola. The members soon relocated to Denver, Colorado and were signed to A&M Records right after the self-released “Shametown” 45. Between 1995 to 1999 the band released the “16 Horsepower” EP and two full length albums (“Sackcloth `n` Ashes” and “Low Estate”) via A&M. The quality of their records and the intensity of their live shows instantly secured them a big fanbase throughout Europe.
After their stint with A&M 16 Horsepower signed to indie Glitterhouse Records. Their third album “Secret South” was released in March 2000 to high critical acclaim. “Hoarse”, a live album put together from shows during the A&M years came out a year later.
After numerous tours around the world the band felt that they needed to spend more time with their families and decided to take a break from recording and live shows. The ever creative songwriter David Eugene Edwards, however, used the free time to record his solo-debut, which was released as “Woven Hand” in spring 2002 (on Glitterhouse Records).
Prior to that (January `02) the band met in Denver to record the long-awaited follow-up to “Secret South”. The result is “Folklore”, a departure towards a more mature sound. While the sound may be quieter, the songs have not lost none of their power and moody intensity. Just listen to the opener “Hutterite Mile” and feel the hypnotic voice of David Eugene creep inside your guts.
When in early `96 a journalist asked David Eugene Edwards about his influences he replied: “Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Joy Division, The Birthday Party/Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Gun Club and the Hungarian band Muzsikas.”
“Folklore”, which was released in 2002, finally reflected those influences and comes full circle. Here you will find the evocative lyrical qualities of Bob Dylan, the gloomy delivery of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash´s “Love, God & Murder” trilogy distilled into one, Jeffrey Lee Pierce´s exorcism-in-progress and Ian Curtis´ haunting melodies. You will also witness a similar musical development Nick Cave underwent from his Birthday Party days.
Now, exactly 10 years after their first stint in a studio, 16 Horsepower go full-circle with the release of “Olden”. There have been many rumours about these recordings: “Olden” comprises the complete first two studio sessions of 1993 & 1994, a total of 12 tracks that feature the rawest, purest versions of some of their classics like “American Wheeze”, “South Pennsylvania Waltz” or “I Seen What I Saw” plus never again recorded tones, now available on Compact Disc for the first time. This gem is rounded by 6 tracks of one the first ever recorded live shows of 1994 in Denver’s Mercury Cafè, including breathtaking versions of “Low Estate” and “Sac Of Religion”. This is more than just an addition to the fan’s 16 Horsepower collection, it is an essential album everybody will need to have the complete picture of the most fascinating band for more than the last decade.
16 Horsepower continues to explore their obsessions with religion, death and love with a frightening intensity and emotional edge, although in a more subdued fashion.