By the time it was announced early last year that 16 Horsepower was finally breaking up (the band had gone on “extended hiatus” in 2003), frontman David Eugene Edwards had released two albums as Woven Hand and the other two members, Pascal Humbert and Jean-Yves Tola, had started work on the second Lillium album (Lillium was originally a solo side-project of Humbert’s). Free from the considerable constraints placed upon them by Edwards, Tola and Humbert have crafted with Short Stories an album that is hushed and mournful but still packs an emotional wallop. Black Heart Procession and Morphine (whose two surviving members guest on one track) spring to mind as obvious comparisons.
The album’s inevitable highlight, however, is “Whitewashed,” featuring Edwards on vocals. The minimalist piano-based song is glacially paced and haunting, imbued with a crushing intensity despite its fragility. The former members of 16 Horsepower are more than capable of carrying on outside of the confines of the band, but “Whitewashed” proves that, when together, the trio was almost supernaturally talented.
Smooch Records Web site