Croatian nu-disco don Ilija Rudman takes a break from the dancefloor to serve up this immersive long-player
With a career that began in the late 90s and four albums under his belt so far, you're no doubt familiar with Ilija Rudman's nu-disco output. But here, as Dead Horse Gang, he's serving up – as Monty Python might have put it – something completely different.
The 80s overtones are still there – that's hard to avoid when this album has been made on much the same hardware as all other Rudman's albums, as he explained in our recent interview. But it's electro, coldwave and synth-pop influences, rather than those from disco and boogie, that hold sway here, and the overall mood is contemplative, wistful and at times quite melancholic, rather than exuberant or celebratory. Highlights include We Hold The Light with its ESG-ish bassline, the squelchy, slow-paced After The Goldrush (no connection to the Neil Young song), Balearic-leaning closer Broken Home: Lost Son's Diary, and the title track Where Wild Horses Go, which sports some truly spangly 80s synths and comes on like a Luther Vandross instrumental on ketamine.
But to pick highlights from an album like this rather misses the point. The idea was never to create a series of sure-fire floorburners, but rather an immersive, end-to-end listening experience – and in that task Rudman has succeeded, with an album that may not rocket straight into your personal Top 10, but that you might well find yourself returning to in years to come.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: Out now (via Bandcamp)
Review Score: 8