Tonight, Oklahoma City band Horse Thief celebrates the release of their debut full length album for Bella Union Records.
The band plays a mixture of psychedelic rock and folk rock, along with the guitar sound reminiscent of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and hints of Fleet Foxes and James.
Horse Thief signed a deal with Bella Union Records in 2013, making them label mates with indie rock favorites Beach House, Fleet Foxes and fellow Oklahomans The Flaming Lips.
But the band’s story begins back in the fall of 2010, when singer Cameron Neal and bassist Cody Fowler left their hometown of Denton, Texas and moved to Oklahoma City to attend the Academy of Contemporary Music in Bricktown. This was with their old band The Tellevators, which adopted a new name – Horse Thief – when they landed in Oklahoma.
After a few member changes, they found three Oklahomans to round out the band in lead guitarist Alex Coleman, keyboardist Zach Zeller and drummer Alberto Roubert.
Neal says the title of the band’s newest album – Fear in Bliss – reflects their initial moments as a band.
“With the new lineup, we all knew it was a really great idea and we knew it was the right move to do that. But, you never know how you’re going to play with people or how it’s going to be on the road,” Neal says. “There’s a lot of factors that you just don’t know how they’re going to turn out.”
The new lineup turned out to be a significant stepping stone for the band, providing crisper drum sounds, wailing guitar licks and complimentary harmonies.
Their first practice together wielded the first song on their new album, “Devil”, which Neal says isn’t necessarily about religion.
“I kinda struggle with anxiety and depression,” Neal says. “I might say ‘devil’ and things like that and it’s not really religious, it’s more of talking about devil and sin as far as anxiety and depression.
While that song may not necessarily be about religion, religious themes still appear throughout the record – most notably on the song “Little Dust”.
“The key theme of the song is actually about a drug addicted preacher or someone that’s a religious person that is struggling with addiction,” says Neal. “A lot of people that are religious struggle with that kind of thing. It’s just a song that maybe somebody out there can relate to.”
Horse Thief celebrates their new album, Fear in Bliss, tonight at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab, located at 329 E. Sheridan Avenue, in Oklahoma City.
More information at horsethiefokc.com.