In this solo guise he has created a diverse and beautiful record, highlighting his undisputable penchant for storytelling. Folk, electronica, rock, reggae and hip hop all find a home here, neatly coalescing with Stokes‘ articulate lyrics.
Before even learning of Sam Beam’s (Iron And Wine) involvement in production duties, it is easy to make a link to his band. It was Iron And Wine that immediately sprung to mind during the gentle opening strum of ‘Pine Needle Tea‘.
This is again evident in the sparse beauty of title track ‘Horse Comanche‘. Both songs caress you with delicate melodies that leave you with an instinctive urge to close your eyes and sway.
But gentle folk is just one of the flavours dipped into here. A splash of electronica drives album highlight ‘Mother Maple‘ with a chorus that instantly sets up residence inside your head.
‘Prison Blue Eyes‘ kicks off with a slightly warped jazz bassline before quickly morphing into reggae territory. The cheerful whistling solo betrays the solemn nature of the title.
The reggae influence also rears it’s head at a later stage in ‘Dead Badger‘, a tune that starts minimal and flourishes into something epic.
The charmingly titled ‘I Want You Like A Seatbelt‘ (“I want you across my hips, fastened low and tight”) explores the fantasy of finding bliss by shunning society and “living in a tree, you and me. Maybe have a kid, maybe three”.
Perhaps the most impressive example of Chadwick Stokes‘ talents as a songsmith lies within the Dylanesque flow of ‘Our Lives Our Time‘. Here, the lyric sheet resembles a short novel and displays some swiftly executed hip hop skills.
Incorporating a seamless vocal interlude from Lucia, the solemn ‘New Haven‘ (“I want to be with you but I’m ok I can let you go”) is the one of the only real sad moments on an uplifting album.
The Horse Comanche is an earthy record that takes you out into a cabin in the woods, possibly with a stream billowing by.
Despite the cold outside, all is ok. You have a fire, a bottle of red and this warm welcoming record to repel the elements.