What a difference a year makes. Or in this case two years. I remember seeing Manchester based quartet Horsebeach in 2013 play to a small crowd in Chorlton opening up for my band at the time and I remember thinking that there was definite promise in their jangly indie pop tones. Fast forward to tonight and the band have written, recorded and released two full length albums and are headlining their biggest hometown show at Band on the Wall.

Tonight’s crowd is sizeable, in fact there’s a little queue to get into the venue which is nice to see. As I walk into the main live room, I see the band’s leader Ryan Kennedy tuning up, looking slightly nervous. But when the rest of the band join him to finish setting up and their manager tells him how many minutes they’ve got until they’re on, a smile ascends on Ryan’s face almost as if he’s switched on frontman mode and is ready to play.

The band open with the intro track from their latest album ‘II’ which is a slick little ditty that starts the record off well but I can’t help but think they needed to start the set off with a faster, louder track. But of course, this isn’t the Horsebeach way, they write delicate pop songs with clean, reverb heavy guitars and chilled yet groovy bass lines so it’s not like we’re expecting any in your face, head bangers tonight. But as they start to play, their momentum picks up and you realise they have some really great songs under their belts, new album tracks like ‘Broken Light’ and ‘Andy’ gets everyone in the room swaying as Ryan croons gently switching up between guitar and synth.

Of course, there’s a lot of songs from the first album that get played much to the crowds delight who seem to be getting more excited as the set progresses. ‘What Problem’ and ‘Faded Eyes’ receive big cheers as some of the favoured tracks off their debut, the former is particularly striking live with a very Smiths inspired rhythm running behind it. Horsebeach write lots of really dreamy pop songs and its ace to hear tracks like ‘Dana’ and ‘Midnight’ belted out in all their smooth, synth soaked glory. ‘It’s Alright’ is supposed to be the last track in the set but guitarist Tom persuades the band to play a few more for the now hungry audience, which they all oblige to do, but ‘It’s Alright’ acts as solid closer as one of the best pop songs of the year, and when drummer Matt triggers the beautiful female harmonies from his drum pad towards the tracks end, jubilation fills the room.

Horsebeach aren’t ones for much in-between banter or any outrageous stage moves, but instead they let the music talk and come across as four polite young lads who write really strong pop songs. With a set that doesn’t feature a dud track, I can safely say that the rise Horsebeach is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.