Home Read Classic Album Review: Sixteen Horsepower | Olden

Classic Album Review: Sixteen Horsepower | Olden

The avant-roots neo-traditionalists collect early demos, live tapes & interviews.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


At first blush, the title of Sixteen Horsepower’s latest album seems a little … well, obvious.

Let’s face it: When you play wheezy, gothic Americana on creaky, ancient instruments like these Denver avant-roots neo-traditionalists do, every album you make sounds pretty damn olden. But the truth is, that handle has a practical meaning in this case: Olden is an anthology, compiling 20 of the trio’s early demos, live recordings and interviews. If you haven’t heard their uniquely compelling sound — which lays claim to a dark, haunted patch of turf somewhere between Tom Waits, Nick Cave, The Gun Club and The Violent Femmes — this is as good a place as any to start. If, on the other hand, you’re already a fan, some of these versions are different enough to make Olden a worthwhile slice of history.