“Even though I’m a folk guy, I want to create and not just preserve,” says Ragnar Finsson, the 25-year-old Faroe Island musician who records as HORRSE. “I want actual humans to connect with my music, whether they're folkies or not.” Drawing on a background that includes time in a punk covers band, session work, “jazz-ish” guitar studies and – ultimately – a steady gravitation towards a rootsier sound (Irish/Appalachian folk, Americana, blues), Finsson finds ways to connect with a natural dexterity on his debut EP. Across four tracks, Finsson asserts himself as an artist of great warmth, empathy, care and imagination, whose sharpened sensitivity to psychological struggle, societal unease, ambient sound and supple grooves reflects a modern reinterpretation of deep folk traditions.
Pretty and thorned, the dreamy arpeggios and lambent twinkle of ‘Queen of Roses’ frame a reflection on identity with a soft, sharp touch. In its unhurried lollop, ‘You’re a Ghost’ embellishes beatific folk with atmospheric shading, pitched between the campfire, the mysteries of the psyche and the great beyond. The insistent thrum and blossoming chorus of ‘Who Are You’ carry deepening reflections on identity, while ‘Devil in the Flesh’ utilises old-time gothic-folk imagery to illuminate themes of political corruption and apocalyptic anxiety. On all fronts, an exquisitely expansive and agile vision of folk’s potential takes sure shape, with enough space, flexibility and poetry in the melodies and lyrics to let the listener in. Wherever HORRSE’s journey leads, these first steps serve loving notice of a bold, brilliant newcomer’s arrival.