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A Formal Horse: "We’re all smelly, longhaired rockers at heart"

Three singers and three EPs in and Southampton’s quirky four-piece A Formal Horse have found the perfect blend of ingredients for their hard rock meets nerdy prog cocktail

The premise of A Formal Horse is simple: four sharp, inventive musicians with backgrounds in technical music go completely against the grain of polish and control in favour of viscerality and animalistic vigour. They have the brains to pull off twisting, Robert Fripp-channelling reveries and can turn mathematical equations into convincing musical passages, but the Southampton quartet have plenty of brawn too. They play with brute force and intelligence for, as guitarist Benjamin Short admits, “We’re all smelly, longhaired rockers at heart.”

Three years after the release of their self‑titled debut EP, much has changed within their ranks. Members have come and gone – a different singer leads the band on each of their three EPs – and time has seen them grow as musicians. Indeed, while the electrifying juxtaposition of their core sound – prog rock dexterity played with wild abandon – has remained a constant, they’ve learnt how best to balance their instrumental indulgences with something raw, exciting and tangible.

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