Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

A FORMAL HORSE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

A Formal Horse picture
A Formal Horse biography
Founded in Southampton, UK in 2014 (?)

From Southampton, UK, the musicians are Francesca LEWIS (Vocals), Russell MANN (Bass), Benjamin SHORT (Guitar) and Mike (STRINGFELLOW)(Drums). They have recorded 2 EP, the first one released in 2014 with ROB AUBREY (IQ, BIG BIG TRAIN). They played live at London's Resonance weekend with ANGLAGARD and BIGELF.
The music is diverse with some Canterbury, avant-garde and British Progressive Rock influences. You can hear slight KING CRIMSON influences in some parts of the songs that show some heavy parts and numerous rhythm changes.

Bio by rdtprog

A FORMAL HORSE forum topics / tours, shows & news


A FORMAL HORSE forum topics
No topics found for : "a formal horse"
Create a topic now
A FORMAL HORSE tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "a formal horse"
Post an entries now

A FORMAL HORSE Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to A FORMAL HORSE

Buy A FORMAL HORSE Music



More places to buy A FORMAL HORSE music online

A FORMAL HORSE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

A FORMAL HORSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 46 ratings
Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower
2019
3.90 | 33 ratings
Meat Mallet
2021

A FORMAL HORSE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A FORMAL HORSE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

A FORMAL HORSE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A FORMAL HORSE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 11 ratings
A Formal Horse
2014
3.35 | 12 ratings
Morning Jigsaw
2015
3.64 | 11 ratings
Made in Chelsea
2017
3.80 | 5 ratings
Bird
2018

A FORMAL HORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Meat Mallet by FORMAL HORSE, A album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.90 | 33 ratings

BUY
Meat Mallet
A Formal Horse Heavy Prog

Review by tempest_77

3 stars The one thing I will say about "Meat Mallet" is that it is at the very least more interesting than a lot of the progressive music happening right now. A Formal Horse has an intuition for heaviness, a sense of humor, and at times, a fairly avant-garde approach. That being said, much of this album is just grungy psych rock with complicated guitar rhythms; there's a lot of stuff on here that really isn't very inspired. By about halfway through the album, it mostly all sounds the same. Especially with the more relaxed, clean guitar-driven passages, it feels like the band doesn't have very many tricks up their sleeves. That being said, I do quite enjoy the subdued, acoustic-driven nature of "Let It Run", which is probably the band's most successful attempt at a more relaxed song. Additionally, most of the heavier passages really are fairly excellent; notable tracks on this front include "This One's Just a Warning", "Someone's After My Malted Milk", "Heavy Hit", and "Mr C's Two Thousand and Threes".

Perhaps the weakest aspect of the album is the lyrical content; a lot of the lyrics aren't very interesting, and many sound either like disjointed artsy phrases, or phrases that the band feels sound edgier than they really are (e.g. "This One's Just a Warning" or "You've Got a Billion and I've Got a Half"). They aren't terrible lines, and can certainly carry weight in the right context, but the band repeats them far too many times to be effective. "Space8" is probably the most lyrically egregious song on the album with its anti-social media angle. Unlike Love Over Fear by Pendragon or Virtual Human by Orion 2.0, I do think that the band is going for a more valid criticism of the internet age and social media (i.e. the negative influence social media can have on people's self-image and its addictive nature), but unfortunately it ends up sounding like just another generic and uninspired anti-internet anthem. Also, I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why the lyrics continue to reference Asia? There are at least 6 songs on the album that mention Tokyo or Japan or Asia or Hong Kong, which feels like a lot for a band from Southampton. To be fair, this is less of a criticism and more of a confusion on my part.

Despite dragging for most of the album, "Meat Mallet" makes up some ground at the end with the excellent closing three tracks "Let It Run", "Mr C's Two Thousand and Threes", and "Turkeys 2000s", which really function all as one continuous piece of music. As I mentioned earlier, "Let It Run" is easily the most effective mellow track on the album; the acoustic part is very engaging, and it flows wonderfully into the crushingly heavy "Mr C's Two Thousand and Threes", which is probably my favorite track on the album. "Turkeys 2000s" comes directly out of this, and while the lyrics are rather odd, the instrumental has some great technicality and heaviness, and it serves very well as a closing track.

All in all, this album is alright, and while it's not an excellent album all the way through, there are certainly some excellent moments. The middle of it had me wanting to bring it down further, but the excellent ending holds it solidly at a 3/5.

 Meat Mallet by FORMAL HORSE, A album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.90 | 33 ratings

BUY
Meat Mallet
A Formal Horse Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Great Heavy Prog punk music with really weird lyrics. Is Hayley McDonnell what Deborah Harry, Lydia Lunch, Siouxsie, or even Elizabeth Fraser would have sound like had they appeared in the 2020s?

1. "This One's Just a Warning" (4:47) great, throbbing prog grunge metal with occasional vocal contributions of the title phrase and a bit more. (8.75/10)

2. "You've Got a Billion and I've Got a Half" (3:53) spacious and portentous, it takes this one 80 seconds to show itself. Great melodies in the vocal. What a hilarious lyric! Could almost have come off of a UT GRET or PINGVINORKESTERN album. (8.75/10)

3. "Hong Kong" (2:29) opens with some Godzilla-like music plodding along over which multiple vocal tracks sing. At 0:55 we switch into an almost 4 A.D. sound. (4.25/5)

4. "I'm a Lasagne" (4:05) more insanely funny/clever lyrics (a play on 10CC's "Life is a Minestrone"?) over a heavier 4 A.D. montage. A little too disjointed to warrant high praise. (8.5/10)

5. "Bring a Bun" (2:10) acoustic guitar strumming and Mellotron beneath Hayley's diaphonously heart-wrenching vocal. My second top three song. (4.5/5)

6. "Someone's After My Malted Milk" (4:20) sounds like a punky rendition of a PURE REASON REVOLUTION song. More humorous lyrics delivered ? beautifully. (8.75/10)

7. "Space8" (3:54) Is this what Siouxsie or Elizabeth Fraser would have sounded like in the 2020s? Incredible song. My favorite song on the album. Simple must be heard. (10/10)

8. "Heavy Hit" (2:17) simple heavy punk music with some really clever phrases in the lyrics. (4.5/5)

9. "Rose Train" (4:00) heavy punk pop in the vein of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lydia Lunch, or even Lena Lovich. Great vocal performance of amazing lyrics. (8.75/10)

10. "Let It Run" (3:06) Interesting musical hodge podge with more interesting lyrics delivered impeccably by Hayley. (8.5/10)

11. "Mr C's Two Thousand and Threes" (3:37) Hayley exhibits some vocal qualities here making her almost sound like Paula Cole, Tracy Thorn, and Alanis Morissette in an Elisabeth Fraser style (an effect that is helped by the Robin Guthrie-like music. At 1:48 when the music goes broad-spectrum heavy metal it sounds like NIGHTWISH and Black Sabbath. (8.75/10)

12. "Turkey 2000s" (4:13) One of the better songs, musically, with another superlative vocal performance of some amazing lyrics. My final top three song. (9.75/10)

Total Time 42:51

A lot of the songs here would be rated higher if based solely on singer Hayley McDonnell's delivery of the lyrics. It's the sometime simplistic music that sometimes weighs the songs down--or diminishes their overall effect. At the same time, like my colleague, The Frogressive Sock, I will find time to listen to this album for a long time to come. I am certain that the vocals and lyrics alone will continue to reveal majestic moments for years.

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent addition of modern prog to any music lover's album collection. Entertaining and very refreshing.

 Meat Mallet by FORMAL HORSE, A album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.90 | 33 ratings

BUY
Meat Mallet
A Formal Horse Heavy Prog

Review by The Frogressive Sock

5 stars It's not often an album comes along and smashes something tangibly exciting in your face, is it? An album that gives you an experience you didn't think you could have anymore and you can't stop listening to it? Meat Mallet by A Formal Horse is one of those albums. I didn't think they could top the brilliance of Here Comes a Man from the Council With a Flamethrower. It's hard to compare the two as they are vastly different in structure. however, I think that Meat Mallet is a progression for the band in almost every single way. Their compositions are constantly unique; I honestly have no clue how they keep coming up with engaging song structures, which feel different from every other song.

Because that's the tricky part.

Prog is a genre which constantly rewards you with surprises, and that's why it's so addictive. But you can't just Frankenstien's Monster a song together and keep it engaging. It needs to make sense. And this is exactly what A Formal Horse does. Composition-wise, I think A Formal Horse have it down. Lyrically? Now that's an interesting area. The lyrics are either gratuitously abstract, or are designed to work about the music ? or both! I wish there was a lyric book or something, because I can't make sense of the songs' meanings. "Cause you're a fish in a sandal, Alastair Campbell, Adam Lallana, I'm a lasagna"? Maybe I'm naive and I don't know much about football, fish, or sandals, but I have no idea what this could be about - but do you know what? I absolutely love the way it sounds!

And that's ultimately what music is about, isn't it? It's about how it makes you feel. I don't know what the lyrics mean, but the way they make me move makes that superfluous. This album gets you jammin' out to it so hard, that this review has taken so, so much longer than it should have (I have it on while I'm writing this).

I should really write about some of those songs which will move you in such a way. 'Someone's After My Malted Milk' has such an amazing energy. It's a top-heavy track with a marching band crescendo to finish it off. (I just realised I describe music like Jamie Oliver describes food.) "You can't keep malted milk in the patio!" - when Hayley belts this part and it bridges the high energy sections of the track; it feels extra impactful when the drums come in because of the isolated vocals. The entire album is so strong, but those last 4 tracks: 'Rose Train', 'Let It Run', 'Mr. C's Two Thousand and Threes', and 'Turkey 2000s' are like a delicious sandwich (why am I back on the topic of food?) You have a slice of bread, cheese, ham, and one more slice of bread. 'Rose Train' probably has the sickest riff on the whole album. If you're listening to this loud it will hit you like a bolt of lightning. 'Let It Run' has almost patriotic lyrics; (it features potentially my favourite lyric on the album, "Pi$$es like a dog on a leash and I've gotta let it run") that's another key element of A Formal Horse. Their feelings of Britishness; but in the best ways. At least, I hope they are meant for the best. The lyrics in 'Mr. C's Two Thousand and Threes' make me a little bit cautious: "His pixelated Asian face in a mystery"? This is where a lyric book would come in handy. I'm not sure what to make of this lyric out of context. 'Turkey 2000s' closes the album with one of the strongest tracks. The tone on the guitar during the solo is mixed at such a perfect level to allow the other instrumentation to come through, yet it also steals the show. It's gorgeous. 5/5. A damn masterpiece. I will be listening to this for years and years to come.

 Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower by FORMAL HORSE, A album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.08 | 46 ratings

BUY
Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower
A Formal Horse Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Interesting and mostly delightful indie prog punk from Angleterre. I am reminded of THE CARDIACS, FACTOR BURZACO, INNER EAR BRIGADE, HUMBLE GRUMBLE, PINGVINORKESTERN, BLONDIE, THE SMITHS, MARIANNE FAITHFULL, LENA LOVICH, TRACEY THORN, and a whole bunch of late 1970s and 1980s artists of a type of music that I was not into (short, guitar- and lyric-based witty nihilist songs).

1. "Magazine Zooey Deschanel" (2:08) Nice lyric. (8.5/10) 2. "Bird" (2:35) Nice lyric. (8.5/10) 3. "I Just Called to Say I Like You" (3:49) Awesome vocalise. A top three song for me. (9.5/10) 4. "Petroleum" (2:55) (8.75/10) 5. "Boarded Doors in Bedford Place" (1:19) sounds like Tracey Thorn! (4.5/5) 6. "Bee" (3:40) like a PINGVINORKESTERN or INNER EAR BRIGADE song. (8.5/10) 7. "Last Track on Side Fun" (3:40) (8.25/10) 8. "Coda" (1:46) (4/5) 9. "Lonely Doe Young Doe" (3:47) a more sensitive, almost operatic side of Hayley. (a song about "roadkill"?!) Gets quite heavy in the instrumental mid-section. Another top three. (9/10) 10. "Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower" (2:05) (8.25/10) 11. "Unison One" (1:56) an instrumental exercise in staying together in odd and syncopated time signatures. (4.5/5) 12. "Commons" (3:22) sounds like a previous song. Great vocal with nice vocal harmonies from the background vocalists. My third top three song. (9.25/10) 13. "Cherub" (2:07) an old-style, full-length 1960s pop song. Could be a BEATLES song. (9/10) 14. "Unison 3" (3:58) more odd tempoed, syncopated rhythm play in a complex, high-powered instrumental. Nice team work! (8.75/10) 15. "Boarded Doors Reprise" (0:48) not very similar to the first. (4.25/5) 16. "Anyway" (3:25) children's playground voices open this one before guitar and metallic guitar riffs establish the song structure and pace. Hayley singing in her lower registers. What a remarkable voice. Not unlike k.d. lang. Love the "scor-PIon" shift of voice into operatic soprano. (9/10)

Total Time: 43:34

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music of a kind of Indie Prog Punk variation.

This is an album that really grows on you as you listen to it--especially with repeated listens. Hayley McDonnell is an extremely talented singer, storyteller, and lyricist (unless someone else is writing the lyrics that she's singing.)

P.S. If you like this you will probably LOVE Inner Ear Brigade, Pingvinorkestern, and Ut Gret.

 Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower by FORMAL HORSE, A album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.08 | 46 ratings

BUY
Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower
A Formal Horse Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

5 stars The band "A Formal Horse" from the United Kingdom has been dilly-dallying around since 2014, and in that time has released 4 EPs. Finally, after 5 years at this, they released their first full-length in November of 2019, the intriguingly titled album "Here Comes a Man from the Council with a Flamethrower". Over the time they have been together, only the lead singer has changed. The band currently consists of Hayley McDonnell (vocals), Benjamin Short (guitars and vocals), Russell Mann (bass), and Mike Stringfellow (drums).

The album has an interesting track listing with 16 tracks in all. The overall run-time is around 45 minutes. None of the tracks quite reach the 4 minute mark. Sound intriguing? It should, especially with tracks that are named "Magazine Zooey Deschanel", "I Just Called to Say I Like You", "Last Track on Side Fun" and, of course, the title track. The band calls itself an "avant-rock quartet", but the music tends to be a blend of Belew-era King Crimson with the thoughtful, yet heavy attitude of Black Mountain. You will see what I mean as the music shifts around as it moves from one track to another, connecting the tracks together, but making it very obvious when one song changes to another. There are often some excellent complexities in the rhythm and heavy guitar exchanges that makes it obviously progressive. The songs, even though they are short, are well developed and each one has a lot going on in it, but each single track is focused on its own purpose, not a miasma or confusing mish mash of style so much in each individual track, yet there are still changing moods and meters within most of them.

Haley's vocals are quite good and fit the musical style perfectly. She is able to adjust her style and sound to match the ever changing musical style of each track. Just listen to "Bee", the 6th track, and you'll also hear her amazing phrasing and range as she jumps smoothly around octaves and interesting intervals with the grace of Joni Mitchell. Sometimes, its hard to believe that the instrumentation is as basic as it is; guitar, bass, drums. Regardless of that, the organic, dynamic sound is quite impressive, spot on, and often can fool you into thinking the band is much larger than what it is.

The melodies for the tracks are not made out of the typical "verse-chors" structure, but are more complex than that, yet they remain fairly accessible, kind of. The angular guitar work can explode at a second's notice into a complex KC-like pattern with the impossible meter shifts, only to soon pull back to a more melodious style, but the overall feel is a little on the dark side, yet that often shifts also. A great example of this is on the dynamic track "Lonely Doe Young Doe" that manages to touch on all of their styles while staying cohesive in a track that still manages to stay under 4 minutes. If you like what you hear there, then you will love the rest of the album. It is probably one of the most amazing individual songs of the year.

Ok, so we have established that the guitarist and the vocalist are amazing, what about the rest of the band? Take a listen to the title track and the following instrumental "Unison One" and even it's sister instrumental track "Unison 3", and you will get an idea with the complex bass and drum lines that support the crazy guitar, and you'll be convinced that this is a band that knows who it is and what they are doing. It's quite a display of dynamic mastery and technical prowess. And, what a way to end the album with the explosive "Anyway". Just perfect!

So, you can chalk up another one for the best albums of 2019, at least for my list. It is definitely one of the best that I've heard, and I've heard a lot of them this year. Those that loved the sound of "Bent Knee" on their recent release "You Know What They Mean" should also be impressed with this release. Think of that album with even more dynamic and mood shifts with many leanings toward KC's later sounds, then you'll know what you will be getting into with this amazing album. This is definitely another band to watch out for. Don't miss this one and make sure to leave room for it on your best of 2019 lists, because I think a lot of people would be impressed with it. As much as I try to not get emotional over an album while writing a review, it's hard not to get excited about this one. 5 enthusiastic stars!

 Morning Jigsaw by FORMAL HORSE, A album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.35 | 12 ratings

BUY
Morning Jigsaw
A Formal Horse Heavy Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars So nice!

This is one of the things I love from internet. Last week A Formal Horse followed me on Twiter, I didn't know who they were but of course entered to their profile and read some of them, then I knew they were a band whose music might interest me so, what do you think I immediately did? I opened Spotify, searched them and found this wonderful 2015 EP entitled Morning Jigsaw which has left me happy and satisfied the three times I've listened to it so far.

This is a short EP that offers high quality music that has some elements of heavy prog with lighter passages in the vein of Bent Knee that might appeal to any fan of prog rock easy to dig. It opens with "Morning Jigsaw" which happens to be the longest song. It has some nice changes but overall shares a heavy spirit in the instrumental moments, with a cool bass sound by the way; but a heavy sound that contrasts when female vocals appear, producing tender textures and a beautiful range, her voice might remind you of Kate Bush, Paatos or Magenta in some ways. The sound is clearly modern progressive rock, hope you get me.

The combo "To The Beach" and "(And Not Back)" give us 5-6 nice minutes of cool catchy prog that anyone could enjoy no matter the mood. I like the power of guitars and drums contrasted with the voice of the singer. The second part is instrumental, bringing cool bass lines and a nice structure. All of a sudden these two tracks have finished, meaning I've enjoyed them. "The King" is my favorite track. I like its gentle sound, the guitars and how beautiful sound with the vocals. The first two minutes are calmer but then the guitars become more aggressive, adding that inherent heavy prog sound to the music of A Formal Horse. Its five minutes are incredible, beautiful. My favorite track, I repeat.

The album finishes with "Dim" which has a calm start but then all of a sudden becomes explosive, heavy and powerful so you might want to do the headbanging haha, this track wonderfully represents what the term "heavy prog" is, despite its soft and catchier moments, overall is a solid and powerful song that nicely finish this cool EP.

This is by no means the best thing I've ever heard, no, but I am really happy to have discovered their music thanks to a simple follow on social networks, so thank you guys for incidentally introducing me to your music.

Enjoy it!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.