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The renaissance of Divine Horsemen—which began in 2021 with In The Red’s release of Hot Rise Of An Ice Cream Phoenix, the legendary Los Angeles punk band’s first release in 33 years—continues with a thrilling and unexpected new album, Bitter End Of A Sweet Night.
The new sixteen-track collection again features the band’s co-founding members, singers-songwriters Chris Desjardins (better known as Chris D.) and Julie Christensen, and the core members of the ferocious Hot Rise band—guitarist / co-writer Peter Andrus (a member of the group’s late ’80s lineup), bassist Bobby Permanent and X’s nonpareil drummer DJ Bonebrake. The sound is filled out by Green On Red and Dream Syndicate keyboardist Chris Cacavas (who appeared on the 1984 Chris D. / Divine Horsemen album Time Stands Still) and classically trained violinist Elizabeth Wilson. Desjardins produced the album.
Divine Horsemen’s dramatic In The Red bow and a 2020 archival set of club performances from 1985 and 1987, issued by Feeding Tube Records, reacquainted listeners with their stormy power and eclectic roots-punk musicianship, which diversified the searing approach taken by Desjardins’ previous band, foundational L.A. punk unit the Flesh Eaters. (Christiansen had previously regrouped with her former husband and musical partner Desjardins on I Used to Be Pretty, the 2018 album that reunited the 1980 “all-star” Flesh Eaters lineup.)
Reaction to the group’s rebirth was rapturous. Jaime Pina of Punk Globe called Hot Rise Of An Ice Cream Phoenix “brilliant,” adding, “The music is lush with both acoustic and electric guitars and the songs pull influences from all over, including country, rock, traditional ethnic folk music and blues.” Michael Toland wrote in The Big Takeover, “Reclaiming its classic sound of sweat- and grime-stained Americana, Divine Horsemen is reborn like the mythical creature in the title.” John Apice of Americana Highways raved, “Like the Rolling Stones, [Divine Horsemen] continue to thrill. They have grit, muscle and potency….Divine indeed.”