Album Review: The Horn – People Like Us

UK indie rock outfit The Horn showcase their varied and lasting appeal on their stellar debut album People Like Us

Having emerged back in the summer of 2022 with the release of their instantly captivating debut single ‘Passion’, UK band The Horn have since been unravelling their catchy indie pop aesthetic and sound in the lead up to their highly-awaited debut LP People Like Us, a collection of tracks that highlights the nuance and charm of the rising band and their charismatic appeal.

Rather than feeling like an overarching concept or idea, the idea of People Like Us was to create a collection of standalone tracks that feel individualistic and all have their own aesthetic and feel, showcasing the engrossing range and charm of their distinctive style. The album opens with 2022 single ‘Do It Now’, an low-key indie rock banger that reaches its apex in memorable choruses that implore us to live life to the fullest in positive and inspiring fashion, complete with a fun, synthy aesthetic and easygoing charm throughout.

‘Another Way’ is possibly the most acclaimed and revered track from the singles that were released ahead of time and it is easy to see why, with its swaggering appeal and hedonistic charm harking back to the boozy heyday of Britpop and all of the messiness that surrounded it. The hooky nature of the track and its incessant grooves seduce you with relative ease, and instantly lure you into the intoxicating world of The Horn and their sound.

The more blissed-out and psychedelic ‘Too Many Moments’ follows, another track that was released ahead of the album and one that sees the artist masterfully blending genres like indie, rock, synth and psychedelia in a way that feels both timeless and eternal while packing that unmistakable modern sheen that adorns so much of their work. Despite the ambition and range of the tracks on this album, the unmistakable bravado and personality that drips from The Horn ties the tracks together in its own brash and memorable way to ensure that things never feel disjointed or disconnected.

Track four on the album is ‘Passion’, the track where it all began for The Horn, and one that feels as enticing today as it did when it was released. The track is a nostalgic and calculating affair, delving into themes like impulsivity and the excitement of your misguided early 20s with a devilish charm that wouldn’t feel out of place on something like Pulp’s Different Class.

As we approach the middle of the album, we find the focus track ‘Addicted To Love’, a track that boasts catchy melodies and an endearingly sweet aesthetic that belies the more morbid undercurrent that it masks beneath the serenity of its sound. It is this juxtaposition and nuance that makes the band feel so multi-faceted and appealing, with a sound that works on a multitude of levels. If you want to just admire the melodies and the overall niceness of the sound then you can, but if you want to delve deeper and truly explore its depths then you can truly unpack its meanings and its darker underbelly.

After this we find the title track ‘People Like Us’, a track that embodies the ethos of the album as a whole, and more of juxtaposition and duality of The Horn, a band that find themselves at this crossroad between striving for love and acceptance while refusing to conform and do what’s expected of them in order to achieve that. The track sums up everything that makes The Horn feel so interesting and engrossing to listen to, boasting an uneasy marriage of style and substance that truly feels like the best of both worlds.

‘50 Years After (I’d Love To Change The World)’ ushers us towards the end of the album, and delves into more stripped-back territory, and showcases some of the more delicate sonic quirks of their sound and style. The emotion etched into the vocals really brings out the elevates the thoughtful nature of the lyrics and the instrumental, once again showcasing a previously unseen side to the band on an album that is full of surprises and stylistic shifts.

Things take a reflective turn on ‘Always Late’, an almost conversational and introspective track that meanders at a casual pace and almost feels like the musings of somebody on a steady, late night walk home, agonising over their flaws and looking back on mistakes and problems that they have caused. The track feels soberingly human and real throughout its duration, and brings an often bombastic and sauntering, vibrant band down to earth in a really nice way.

This laid-back sentimentality is replaced with abrasiveness on ‘Power Show’, an energetic and acerbic track that serves as a pushback against authority figures and the powers that be, especially as they look to seize more and more control with murky and unclear motives. The track has a vibrant and fun appeal to it that once again belies some of the darkness that is masked within the lyrics beneath the sunny melodies, making for a track that feels as engaging and upbeat as it is cautionary.

The album is rounded out by ‘Department of Fate’, a track that delves deeper than ever into this thoughtful and introspective territory that they’ve brushed with on different occasions throughout the LP. The track feels like a great summation of what has come so far, creating the perfect cocktail of thoughtfulness and engrossing melodies that never really allows one to overpower the other, with lyrics pondering about the future and what is yet to come met expertly by the weighted and nuanced nature of the soundscape.

On the whole, People Like Us is a triumph of a debut album, an adventurous release that pushes unique blend of brash Britpop and nuanced indie rock into a variety of different directions without ever meandering too far from what makes their core sound feel so inviting. The sound feels familiar and earnest enough to resonate with listeners and give it a nostalgic sheen while having one foot firmly in the modern day, breathing new life into a style of music that tends to live and die based on the creativity and personality of its performers. The Horn are much more than an indie rock band, they are an outfit capable of making you feel a plethora of emotions and evoke tonnes of different feelings in you thanks to the subtleties and different avenues that they take on different tracks, pulling you around their unique sonic world with a deftness and charm that feels effortless.