Desperate Living (album)

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Desperate Living
HORSE the band desperate living.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 6, 2009 [1]
RecordedMarch–May 2009 [2]
GenreNintendocore, metalcore, avant-garde metal
ProducerNoah Shain[2]
Horse the Band chronology
A Natural Death
Desperate Living
Singles from Desperate Living
  1. "Shapeshift"
    Released: April 2009[3]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Drowned In Sound7/10 stars[5]
Rock Sound8/10 stars[6]

Desperate Living is the fifth studio album by Horse the Band, released October 6, 2009, through Vagrant Records.


The album sees a departure from the band's reliance on the Nintendocore sound which they helped to pioneer with their demos and first two full-length albums. The bass guitar's role in the music (as well as in the band itself) has been diminished slightly, with the lower registers mainly serving as counters for the guitar and keyboard melodies instead of the rhythm section role of music of their style. The album is also unique in comparison with the band's previous work in that there is considerably more synthesized bass, orchestration, and drum programming featured.

Those who purchased the album through iTunes received remixes by the members of Horse the Band's favorite artists and members of the band itself under different identities.[7]

The album reached #125 at Billboard 200 chart.[8]

Jamie Stewart of the band Xiu Xiu appears on Horse the Band's fourth album as per request from Erik Engstrom in an AIM message he sent to Stewart.

Stewart commented on his role in the recording process, stating, "Horse the band has asked me to try to help them make a dying robot, an exploding keyboard, a dream laugh, and a melted, drastic flute of redemption. Lucky for you and for me they have the wit and creativity to turn these things into music."[9]

Also featured on the album is classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa on the song "Rape Escape". She is featured playing "a fragment of the cadenza of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2, the emotional climax and most technically demanding section of one of the most difficult pieces ever written for piano". According to Engstrom, "She plays like she is possessed by the song, like she is channeling the composer and understanding their intentions and feelings better than they understood them when they were writing the song." Engstrom was very satisfied with her inclusion on the album by also stating "Only a handful of pianists in the world could play the piece, and she embarasses (sic) every single one of them." It was reported that Lisitsa recorded the piano piece in her home studio and broke a string while recording it.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Nathan Winneke; all music composed by Horse the Band.

2."Desperate Living"4:07
3."The Failure of All Things"4:51
4."Horse the Song" (featuring K-SLAX)4:24
5."Science Police"3:50
6."Shapeshift" (featuring Jamie Stewart)5:11
7."Between the Trees"3:55
8."Golden Mummy Golden Bird"4:46
9."Lord Gold Wand of Unyielding" (featuring His Purple Majesty David Isen and Lord Gold Erik Engstrom)2:32
10."Big Business"4:56
11."Rape Escape" (featuring Valentina Lisitsa)7:12


Horse the Band
  • Nathan Winneke – lead vocals
  • David Isen – guitar, co-lead vocals on "Lord Gold Wand of Unyielding"
  • Erik Engstrom – synthesizer, LSDJ, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on "Lord Gold Wand of Unyielding"
  • Daniel Pouliot - drums
Guest musicians


  1. ^ HORSE the Band Album Info.
  2. ^ a b "Horse the Band Begin Recording."
  3. ^ "Horse The Band Shapeshift (7")". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Adam Kennedy. "BBC - Music - Review of HORSE the Band - Desperate Living". Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  5. ^ Drowned In Sound review
  6. ^ Rock Sound review
  7. ^ "iTunes bonus tracks." Roadrunner Records
  8. ^ HORSE the band albums chart performance at allmusic
  9. ^ Cannon, Sean (30 March 2009). "HORSE The Band in the Studio Now, Overseas in May". Buzz Grinder. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  10. ^ Horse The Band debuts "Rape Escape"