I want to hang with Corsair. Not with the band’s members, though that would also be cool, but no, I mean I want to hang out with the entity that is Corsair; its essence, I guess. And do nothing at all. Just be together. I imagine it would be a sincerely warm experience. Like going to see that friend you had in high school whose family was totally chill. Not embracing so much as welcoming and accepting. You always felt good there because you knew you could check your worries at the door and just enjoy not giving much of a shit about anything for around an hour with some people who were totally okay with you being you. And if you didn’t dig what was happening just then? That’s cool. Door’s always open.
So how do they do that? …be the band you want to sit around with, sharing snickerdoodles and listening to their awesome stories? Corsair’s is a comfy sound, for sure. The production on One Eyed Horse, as with its predecessors, is round and robust and inviting like a wood-paneled-rec-room bean bag chair. Too warm and comfy and a fella might start to doze (which is totally cool with Corsair. Nap if you need it, buddy), but the conversation here always involves something engaging, exciting even; maybe not so much because of what’s said but because it’s said with verve.
But it’s more than sound, of course. So much of what makes a gathering special is that its members already know each other so intimately. This aspect of the One Eyed Horse experience is two-fold. First, there’s a reverent familiarity to Corsair that’s coursed through all of the band’s previous work and it’s here, too, with nods to Thin Lizzy being the most obvious (but less pronounced than before), along with some newish camaraderie with the free-spirited ghost of Captain Beyond, and assorted other less well-defined figures of classic progressive rock-and-roll, which is to say it’s all very old soul.
Second, there’s a ton of super tight-knit feel on this record. That cohesiveness reflects the fact that Corsair’s core has been Adventure Rockin’ for 7 years (what’s that, 56 in band-years?), and three self-everything-ed records (Shadow Kingdom launched this one, of course, and re-released the band’s self-titled third). It’s obvious in the honesty of the melodies and riff flow, but it’s nowhere more evident than in the trademarkable lead-guitar dynamics of Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring. Maybe the only thing more intriguing than the skill in this duo’s ubiquitous harmony and counterpoint is the ostensible ease with which they pull it all off. The pair’s sort of always defined the potential of Corsair, but on One Eyed Horse, they’ve made a proclamation of greatness (not that they’d ever lay such claim outright).
Ride along with the title track to get a sense of that greatness and a look at how deeply it permeates the whole affair.
You’ll notice Marie and Paul working the fret magic, but also watch bassist Jordan Brunk and drummer Wade Warfield as they pace them lick for lick. (Warfield has since been replaced by Mike Taylor due to injury. Here’s to a speedy recovery.) Then notice their lockstep, resolidifying the foundation as the guitars ascend again. You know this level of synergy comes from nothing less than an amount of time and work together that would land most of us up the river for killin’ a bitch. The result is professional level songwriting that plays like a jam band of prodigies.
In heavy music, it’s something of a rarity for a record to be old school and progressive, intricate and engaging, exciting and inviting. One Eyed Horse offers all of these things with a sincerity that says, “Hey there, we’ve missed you. Come on in where it’s warm. We’ll play for you and you’ll feel good and you can stay as long as you like.”